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Minot City Council elects women to leadership, sponsors nonprofit grant applications

Nonprofits receive support for grant applications

Jill Schramm/MDN A dog is eager for play in one of the kennels at Souris Valley Animal Shelter Monday. A neighboring, broken kennel is used for storage, which underscores the need for upgraded and updated facilities.

The Minot City Council recorded a first Tuesday when it elected two women to leadership in post-election reorganization.

Council member Lisa Olson, who previously served as council vice president, was elected president, and, citing a “spirit of change,” nominated new council member Carrie Evans for vice president. Both were elected without a challenger.

Evans and another new council member, Tom Ross, were sworn in, along with re-elected council member Stephan Podrygula.

Before reorganizing, the council voted to sponsor applications of the Magic City Discovery Center, YWCA Minot and Souris Valley Animal Shelter for grants from the Department of Defense Program’s Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot.

Josh Wolsky, who along with Shannon Straight, attended his final meeting before stepping down from the council, spoke in support of the Magic City Discovery Center’s $6.3 million application. The grant, if received, would cover the $11.9 million cost not already covered through fundraising.

Jill Schramm/MDN Souris Valley Animal Shelter would be renovated and expanded under a proposal that is ready for construction once funding becomes available.

“This is a great project. We supported it with the Community Facilities Fund a few years ago,” Wolsky said. “But all along I have really thought and believed that this would be a great project and a potential anchor for downtown Minot.”

He suggested one of the downtown parking ramps could become a potential location for the children’s museum. The grant application indicates the project would go forward at a proposed North Hill location if the grant is received, but because of finances, the museum board previously has indicated it is open to other sites that might be less expensive.

Council member Paul Pitner shared similar thoughts about the potential use of a parking ramp.

“There is an opportunity there that I think would be worthwhile exploring,” he said. The ramps were originally built to have ground-floor commercial space and upper level housing.

The council approved sponsorships for the YWCA and animal shelter without discussion.

The YWCA is requesting $18 million for land acquisition and construction of a new campus to house its shelter, community resource center, play areas for children and handicapped-accessible services.

“Our building is just old and doesn’t meet the needs in the community,” Executive Director Meghan Von Behren said previously.

She said a new building would allow expansion and a safer, cleaner, more environmentally friendly environment as well as enable the YWCA to add two new programs that would be free to the community. One is a career center, at which people can receive help with resumes, budgeting and other skills. Von Behren said the YWCA offers those services to the women it serves currently but services would expand to the community, including to military members.

A second new program, Study Buddy, would offer after-school tutoring, outside learning opportunities and guest speakers. Von Behren said it would help fill the gap for after-school care for working parents.

Multiple properties in north Minot are under review for a new building, she said.

“This is an opportunity that we are pursuing heavily because it’s such a unique opportunity that could help the community so greatly,” she said.

Souris Valley Animal Shelter is requesting a grant of $3 million to renovate and expand its existing building in southeast Minot. The 1985 building has numerous issues, such as rust, mold, insects, rodents, improper interior drainage, cracked concrete, broken floor tiles as well as a need for other repairs. It also lacks adequate space for offices and for providing the best conditions for the animals.

In other action, Mayor Shaun Sipma read a proclamation declaring June as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) Pride Month.

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