Artspace will receive a $100,000 donation from the City of Minot to complete gap financing necessary to build its downtown affordable housing project.
The Minot City Council voted 13-1 to support the donation Tuesday. Only Alderman Scott Knudsvig voted against the contribution.
Although the city will be donating $100,000, the city also will be collecting $107,800 on the sale of city property to Artspace. The organization had been working on a purchase agreement with the Minot Parking Authority, which operates the parking lot that Artspace intends to purchase. The lot since has been determined to be in the city's ownership, but City Attorney John Van Grinsven said the decision was made to include both the parking authority and city on the purchase agreement. The council voted to extend the closing date from Tuesday to Oct. 15.
Meanwhile, Artspace has been excavating at the site. Remains of an old hotel have led to excavation expenses that Artspace has indicated have been about $700,000. The expenses helped push the overall cost to $9 million. Although that remains within Artspace's original estimated cost range, it has created the need for additional fund raising and led to the request for the city donation.
The council approved the donation without discussion after what already had been a 3-1/2-hour meeting.
Before getting to the Artspace request, the council spent considerable time on planning issues, including approving the 33-home Northridge Villas subdivision off 27th Street Northwest over neighborhood objections and denying a proposed townhouse development near the softball complex south of the airport that also had neighborhood opposition.
The council voted 9-5 to approve an affordable housing study, which finance director Cindy Hemphill described as necessary in lobbying legislative and congressional officials. The $487,620 price tag of the study and its implementation concerned some council members.
"The price is shocking," Alderman Dean Frantsvog said. "I just think it's over-priced."
Alderman Blake Krabseth defended the price because of the depth of the information being sought.
Hemphill said some costs might be saved if CDM Smith, the contractor, can use information from a state housing survey that is being finalized. That study looks at workforce housing and the projected needs through 2030. Hemphill said Minot's study will differ in that it is looking at immediate needs for affordable housing and assessment of the current housing situation.
Voting for the study were Krabseth, Dave Lehner, Amy Moen, Tom Seymour, Lisa Olson, George Withus, Larry Frey, Jim Hatlelid and Mark Jantzer. Voting agsint it were Knudsvig, Frantsvog, Bob Miller, Milt Miller and Kevin Connole.
The council also approved a $3.8 million grant to Minot Area Development Corp. from the MAGIC Fund for infrastructure development that will benefit the Port of North Dakota expansion and other development in northeast Minot. Knudsvig cast the lone vote against the grant, noting that building infrastructure to serve general city growth is a function of the city and not the economic development fund.