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County allocates federal dollars

Funds to help Broadway Circle construction

Submitted Photo A rendering shows a 17-unit apartment complex for low- to moderate-income renters that will be part of Broadway Circle, serving to address housing needs of lower income workers and prevent homelessness.

A $1.38 million grant from Ward County will give Project BEE a boost in its mission to raise over $3 million to be able to complete its Broadway Circle project.

The Ward County Commission met Thursday to finalize allocation of $13 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars. The county made about $8 million of that total available to local governments and nonprofits.

The low bid recently received on the Broadway Circle project came in at $7.54 million from Mattson Construction. The project located along South Broadway in Minot entails six units of family shelter, 17 units of low- to moderate-income rental housing and space for services of The Lord’s Cupboard pantry. The property includes commercial space to be rented to help support operations. It also will have a children’s play area and green space.

The project is receiving funding from the City of Minot’s National Disaster Resilience Program, which has about $4 million that will go toward construction.

Liz Larsen, executive director for Project BEE, said the low bid was nearly $3.5 million over the original estimated cost. She said Project BEE has looked into financing and is working to raise additional dollars through donations but needs about $1.47 million to break ground.

The county commission earlier had approved $340,320 for a mental health program through Project BEE but shifted those funds to further support Broadway Circle with Larsen’s agreement.

“Ultimately, if we cannot get this project funded, even our downtown programming we will have to cut back on,” Larsen said of Broadway Circle. “This is going to have to be our priority.”

Project BEE also was awarded 30% of the cost of a truck to pull a mobile shower and laundry trailer to serve homeless individuals across the region. Larsen explained the service will open doors to bringing in people as clients to address their homelessness.

Commissioners on Thursday allocated $141,122 more than available in ARPA funds, expecting adjustments to be made in coming weeks. The next step is to visit with grant recipients to confirm project eligibility and grant acceptance. Most projects were not fully funded so entities will need to determine whether they are able to go forward with the funds awarded or if they need to turn back the money.

Among larger grant awards to nonprofits were:

– Domestic Violence Crisis Center $120,704 in total for various requests for bathroom renovation, services and support for a high risk team.

– Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy, $100,000 for services.

– Sanctuary for Sober Living, $250,000 toward the purchase of its leased building in Minot.

– Visit Minot, $96,000 to provide marketing tools to area communities to promote countywide events.

– Youthworks, $600,000 toward purchase of a building to provide separated services for delinquent youth and runaway youth. The commission is considering purchasing a building with the money rather than granting the funds directly to Youthworks.

The Ward County Historical Society received funds toward technology updates, water and sewer improvements and a foundation for an interpretative building with a community events center and ability to house vehicles. The Commission on Aging, Souris Valley Animal Shelter and The Difference-A Holistic Approach also received funds.

The county commission approved full funding of requests up to $50,000 to provide emergency response agencies with new radios required by a statewide communication system.

“The smaller fire departments simply can’t afford this,” said Jennifer Wiechmann, director of Ward County Emergency Management. “They didn’t ask for this but they simply have no choice.”

The commission is proposing to use ARPA funds to pay half the cost of eight township bridge projects, which are county obligations so would be matched by other county funds. The commission is fully funding mitigation of an erosion issue at the Des Lacs Cemetery with ARPA funds. The project is necessary to protect the adjacent county road.

The commission agreed to cover 34.5% of sewer and water assistance requests from communities and 50% of requests from townships for culvert and graveling projects, with a cap of $25,000 on graveling. A request from Afton Township for help with graveling and improvements on 30th Street Southwest was approved at 60%.

Additional funds also were allocated to Burlington Rural Fire and police departments as well as to park, city and other township projects.

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