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The City of Minot can proceed with the downtown gathering place after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accepted the project’s environmental review.
In approving the review, HUD sent an approval of Request for Release of Funds to the City. Under the National Environmental Protection Act, an environmental review must be completed and approved by the federal department administering the grant before any funds can be spent.
“It’s great to get this approval, which means HUD recognizes we’ve fully complied with their regulations and requirements,” Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma said. “Now, we can move forward with the next steps to bring this exciting project to our downtown.”
As a result of HUD’s approval, purchase offer letters were sent to the owners of properties inside the footprint of the project. The City also sent a draft sub-recipient agreement to the Minot Park District to involve the district in the project’s design and construction.
City Manager Tom Barry noted that project costs must remain within the approved budget. Federal Community Development Block Grant-National Disaster Resilience funds will be used for the project, including $2.5 million for acquisition, relocation, demolition, and site restoration, and $3.5 million for design and construction.
Property will be acquired under the federal voluntary acquisition program, which means the City cannot use eminent domain or any related court action to acquire properties.
“Actual design of the project cannot begin until the City knows the boundaries of acquired properties. Federal rules require that negotiations must be based on the current value of each property and not what value the property might have based on the project or project design,” said John R. Zakian, Disaster Resilience Grant Program Manager.