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The deadline to reach purchase agreements with the remaining owners of property necessary to construct a downtown gathering space has been extended to Sept. 30 after a special meeting of the Minot City Council.
The council voted 6-1 to extend the deadline, which had previously been set at Aug. 31. Alderman Paul Pitner was lone vote against the new deadline, saying he believed the council should stick to its commitment of Aug. 31.
Prior to the vote, council members discussed different options of moving forward with the project, including holding firm on the Aug. 31 deadline or seeking a substantial amendment from HUD to change the designation of the project from a public facility to an economic development activity with an objective of creating low and moderate income jobs. Changing the designation to economic development would have allowed the City more latitude to work with private developers to complete the project.
When the City was awarded $74.3 million as part of the Housing and Urban Development National Disaster Resilience Competition, $6 million in funds was dedicated to building a gathering place in the downtown area. Three sites were identified as meeting the two-acre requirement from HUD for the project. After an online poll was conducted, a site just off Central Avenue and near First Street Southeast was selected as the favored site.
Negotiations to purchase the eight properties necessary to create the gathering place began in February and are ongoing with the owners of three properties; tentative agreements have been reached on the other properties.
The extended deadline gives the City and property owners additional time to reach agreements. If agreements aren’t in place by the deadline, council members have said they would discuss moving the project two the second highest-ranked site, which is currently a Trinity Health parking lot adjacent to Broadway between Second Avenue Southwest and Third Avenue Southwest.
At the special council meeting, aldermen Josh Wolsky, Shannon Straight, and Stephen Podrygula indicated they would not support moving the project to a different site.