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The City of Minot today sent the completed Finding of No Significant Impact environmental review to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as the next step in moving forward with the downtown gathering space project.
If HUD accepts the City’s filing, the agency would then issue a Release of Funds notice to the City, allowing Minot to proceed with all activities related to the project. Even though HUD is one of the departments that has been affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government, John Zakian, NDR Program Manager for the City of Minot, said there is a possibility the request will be reviewed and processed.
“This is a significant step in making the gathering space a reality as a cornerstone for sustainable growth in downtown Minot,” said Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma. “It also demonstrates the City’s commitment to work within HUD and other federal rules, but still fast track necessary approvals to the greatest extent possible.”
Despite having to undertake further environmental review based on public comments received at the end of last year, the City remains ahead of the normal timeline for these HUD reviews and approvals by at least a month.
“The City is positioned to move quickly with the next steps - literally on the day that we receive the Release of Funds Notice from HUD,” Minot City Manager Tom Barry said. “We’re prepared to submit purchase offers to the owners of properties necessary for acquisition and begin discussions with the Minot Park District for a sub-recipient agreement to involve them in the design and construction of the gathering place.”
All HUD projects must follow the National Environmental Protection Act, which requires that no project can proceed or costs be incurred until an environmental review is approved. The City was able to secure an expedited review by partner agencies, including the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office, for the adjusted environmental review that gave the City an unconditional release for property acquisition and use of any property acquired.