City OKs spending on blighted homes, business loans

A plan for removing blighted homes and establishing a business loan fund moved forward with support of the Minot City Council Monday.

The council approved re-allocating unused money in a 2012 Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program toward the new programs.

The proposal authorizes $800,000 to be used in an acquisition program to buy and clean up blighted properties. With the proposed involuntary program, which will not involve eminent domain, owners will be offered current property values.

The other part of the plan authorizes another $800,000 of the CDBG-DR money to go into a small business revolving loan fund. The city would seek a matching amount from the federal Economic Development Administration.

Council member Shaun Sipma asked staff to investigate whether the new program would duplicate a similar loan program through Souris Basin Planning Council.

Details of the programs will be worked out and presented to the council at a later date.

Also in other business, the council was informed the city is reviewing two proposals from developers for single-family resilient neighborhoods as part of the National Disaster Resilience Program. The council had sought proposals from developers and large tract owners with 35 buildable lots within Minot for resilient neighborhood construction. The focus of the single-family housing would be to provide relocation options for low- to moderate-income homeowners in the buyout areas.

The city received one new proposal for a multi-family development but it was withdrawn. A new request for proposals is being drafted. The city is looking for existing rental housing to be rehabilitated through the affordable multi-family housing portion of the resilience program. One program, Park South Apartments, already has been approved.

City Manager Tom Barry also provided updated information related to the parking ramps. The city is moving forward with closing out the city’s portion of the construction on the two ramps. Barry said the developer, Cypress Development, still owes $255,000 in lease payments after coming up to date only on the interest and penalty last month. New interest and penalty are accruing.