The more than $67.5 million Minot received in Community Development Block Grant funding is not going to solve every problem faced by the city and its residents. It's simply not enough money.
But the city must absolutely be diligent in spending those funds in the most effective way in order to help the largest percentage of the local population affected by the flood of 2011. And that leads us to question some of the city's proposal.
We're supportive of plans to replace or repair basic infrastructure around town, including a number of sewer lift stations damaged by the flood. Expanding the city landfill has also become a necessity since the flood debris overwhelmed the facility.
But spending $3 million to help build a parking facility downtown for two apartment complexes as part of the Imagine Minot project doesn't make sense. We were originally told that project would replace any lost parking spaces with underground parking when new complexes were built. When did that change?
We also question the need to provide more than $11 million in sewer and other infrastructure to help developers build housing projects outside the flood area that would include 51 percent affordable housing. If the city is going to spend that much money, we suggest all the housing should be affordable housing.
We also question spending $4.5 million to fix the Sixth Street Southwest underpass near the Minot Public Library. The project has been delayed at least a couple of times in recent years, but now apparently has been deemed a priority. But wouldn't that underpass be replaced as part of the city's flood protection plan?
We're aware that regulations prohibit direct payments or reimbursements to flooded residents, but the money saved by cutting some of these projects could add to the almost $12 million already proposed to help low-to-moderate income homeowners rehabilitate or rebuild flood-damaged houses. Again, we know the CDBG funding won't solve issue facing the city. But we hope the city takes a long, hard look at its proposal and makes some adjustments before it's final.