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The City of Minot, in partnership with the Minot Park District, is exploring potential new uses for land near Maysa Arena that was once a City landfill.
Assistant Public Works Director Jason Sorenson presented an update on the property at the Aug. 3 City Council meeting. Sorenson said there are still regulatory hurdles to clear before the land could be used.
The site was the City of Minot landfill from 1961-1971. It was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List after complaints about odors and gas bubbles in standing water on the property. Subsequently, a new landfill cap, passive gas vents, and leachate collection and drainage was added, and access to the property was restricted. It was removed from the National Priorities List in 1997.
The EPA reviews the property every five years, and created and distributed information in 2013 listing potential uses for the property.
“We’ve been in discussions with the Minot Park District on and off for the past five years,” Sorenson said. “We discussed it pretty in-depth with the EPA back in 2016. I was involved in those discussions, and I thought it was a pretty simple process. We’ve found out in the last four years that it is anything but, but we’re making our way through it.”
Sorenson said the EPA does not allow any activities on the property that could damage the landfill cap.
The Minot Park District developed a draft plan that included an 18-hole disc golf course, mountain biking trails, and cross-country trails on the property. Several groups representing those activities have submitted letters of support for repurposing the old landfill property.
But as it stands now, the Park District’s plan would be in violation of the EPA’s current Record of Decision, which minimizes any and all access to the site. However, Sorenson said there is a path forward that could lead to the City and the Park District being allowed to utilize the property.
An EPA attorney will take a motion through federal court, laying out what Minot wants to do, and the EPA’s opinion on whether or not the property will remain protected. Prior to that, the City must have agreements in place with the Park District and the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality that those organizations support the City’s reuse plan. The City also must submit final drafts of a Statement of Work, Explanation of Significant Difference, and a Consent Decree; work on that paperwork is in progress, Sorenson said.
He said the EPA has notified him that it intends to sign the ESD no later than Sept. 30, which is good news for keeping the process moving forward.
“When I started seeing dates on paper, it seems pretty neat,” Sorenson said. “This is the most activity I’ve had going on with this project in a couple of years.”
The Council passed a resolution of support for completing this project as soon as allowed by the federal government.