OFFICE BUILDING MOVING AHEAD Ward County is moving ahead with plans to construct a new office building and expansion of the Ward County Jail, despite a decision by legislators this past week not to give the county $5.2 million toward the jail expansion. The county had requested the funds from an oil and gas impact fund in counties with population of 45,000 to 65,000. Ward County would have had to provide dollar for dollar matching funds for the jail project, expected to cost around $10 million. But legislators rejected the request. The county also got a look at new designs this past week for the office building, which will be constructed north of the courthouse. The new building will be attached to the courthouse via a skywalk, and the exterior design will partially match the outside of the existing courthouse. The projects will be financed by a sales tax that was approved by voters in November. The quest for more space at the courthouse and jail has been going on for nearly a decade, but there is finally an end in sight. Preliminary work on the site for the new building could begin this summer.
UNDERPASS TO UNDERGO RENOVATION Finally, work is scheduled to begin on the Sixth Street Southwest underpass. The Minot City Council approved a $4.3 million plan that includes a new section of roadway, new water and sewer lines and an upgraded drainage system. Federal funds will cover about $1.65 million. The underpass has been a problem for decades. It floods every time there's even a moderate rain event, and large trucks, including fire trucks, are too tall to use the underpass. The project has been pushed down the city's list of priorities a number of times, but council members did the right thing by moving this project forward now. Its time has come.