Housing rehabilitation and construction are the focus of the City of Minot's proposed action plan to spend $67.5 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds.
The city on Tuesday released the plan, which is available for review online at (www.minotnd.org) or (www.minotrecoveryinfo.com). The city will hold a public hearing Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in City Hall.
"While these dollars are not enough to cover the unmet needs that remain a year after our flood event, we feel that by leveraging these funds, along with federal and state dollars, that we will be able to assist a large number of families and individuals that are still recovering," Mayor Curt Zimbelman said.
Jill Schramm/MDN • Workers make repairs to a flooded house on Central Avenue Tuesday for Deloycheet Development Corp., which is rehabilitating the property to make it habitable again.
Cindy Hemphill, city finance director, said grant rules prohibit reimbursement of expenses because the money is meant for unmet needs. The rules also prohibit general cash payments to individuals.
However, the city is designating $3.42 million to assist about 60 low- to moderate-income households with house repairs and another $8.4 million to aid 56 households with reconstruction. Qualified homeowners could get grants of up to $60,000 for repairs or $150,000 for reconstruction on a first come, first served basis. The grants could not duplicate other assistance received from government or charitable sources and recipients must have lived in and plan to continue to live in those homes.
"This is part of retaining the citizens of Minot and keeping them in the city because we certainly want to do that," Hemphill said.
Information on these programs and how to apply will be released later if the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development approves the city's proposed action plan. Minot must submit the plan by July 23. HUD then has up to 45 days to act on it.
The plan would have the city participate in a $60 million housing project that will provide about 300 new homes in northeast Minot.
"We are working with a developer that is going to put in a housing development and provide 51 percent of the homes as low to moderate or affordable homes," Hemphill said. "We are looking at putting $5 million in for infrastructure."
The city also proposes to spend $7.3 million to purchase 50 vacant lots where houses have been demolished. The city would hire a developer to rebuild affordable homes on those lots.
The city proposes spending $6 million to acquire properties in the path of a flood protection system. The state already has contributed $17 million to acquire 108 homes, and Hemphill said 76 of those homeowners have accepted the buyouts.
For renters, the city plans to contribute $400,000 to Minot Place Townhomes, a $6 million project that will provide 30 affordable housing units in southeast Minot. The city plans to invest $3 million in a downtown development parking facility, which would be associated with a $19 million housing project offering 20 percent of units, or about 54, as affordable rental units.
An additional $2.4 million would go to repairing damaged and aged storm water sewers downtown to support affordable rental units.
Another $250,000 would go to assist tenants displaced by buyouts with relocation.
Infrastructure spending would include:
- $3.7 million toward a $5 million landfill expansion.
- $6.3 million toward a $28 million northern sewer project.
- $4.3 million toward an $8.5 million sewer lift station project.
- $4.5 million for a storm sewer drain at Sixth Street Southwest, addressing underpass flooding.
- $3.2 million for a fire station and equipment in northeast Minot.
- $200,000 for the Domestic Violence Center to help replace transitional living facilities.
The city proposes to spend $1.4 million on planning.
"We have identified several areas that we want to do studies on," Hemphill said. "Two that are very key are the unmet needs assessment and the affordable housing study. The unmet needs will help us emphasize to our state and federal partners what the unmet needs continue to be in the city of Minot so that, hopefully, as we go forward, they will continue to partner with us."
Other planning will look at the city's water system and disaster emergency response.
The CDBG program allows up to 5 percent of funds to go to administration. The city has set aside $3.38 million for administration, which includes additional city staff and contract assistance from consultant CDM Smith. The city also included $4.3 million in project delivery costs, which will cover the expense of having CDM Smith oversee implementation of the programs.
CDM Smith will be opening a disaster recovery service office to address questions from the public about the plan. Its office is located in Arrowhead Shopping Center and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The public comment period on the proposed plan is open until July 3. People can leave comments on the websites containing the action plan or write to the City of Minot at P.O. Box 5006, Minot, N.D. 58702.
Even when approved by HUD, some of the action plan won't be implemented until next summer, especially the construction of the new homes, Hemphill said. But what the city can start on yet this year, it will, she said.
"The City of Minot certainly realizes the needs of the citizens and that there are still a tremendous amount of unmet needs. We are doing everything as quickly as we can within the regulations to try to keep all of this moving so we can be responsive," Hemphill said.