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Council to consider community requests

Five community and economic betterment organizations, including one making a first-time. request, are asking for a combined $755,500 from the City of Minot.

The Minot City Council will be considering the requests next month as part of its budget process. The city awards grants annually to organizations that provide services benefitting the city.

Organizations seeking assistance in 2023 are Minot Area Council of the Arts, $40,000; Minot Area Chamber EDC, $510,000; Souris Basin Planning Council, $15,000; Minot Commission on Aging, $154,500; and Project Bee, $36,000.

It is the first request from Project Bee, which provides poverty programming in forms such as a homeless shelter, diaper pantry and rental assistance.

During a presentation to the council on Monday, Project Bee Executive Director Liz Larsen said needs have been increasing in the current economy.

“We have been getting phone calls for all sorts of needs,” she said. “We have been getting more calls than we can accommodate for shelter right now. We only have six noncongregate units at our existing shelter on Third Avenue.”

The noncongregate units serve families, and there presently is a waiting list, Larsen said. Project Bee also is seeing more clients overall who require extensive caseworker involvement because behavioral health concerns.

The $36,000 from the city, if approved, would go to sustain the homeless shelter and critical operations, reducing the burden on law enforcement and the healthcare system, according to Project Bee. Meanwhile, Project Bee is fundraising and seeking financing for Broadway Circle, which will provide a family shelter and low-income housing as well as space for the Lord’s Cupboard’s food pantry and a soup kitchen..

MACEDC presented the largest request, asking for $435,000 for economic development activities and $75,000 for Task Force 21, the base retention committee.

Brekka Kramer, president of MACEDC, spoke to the council about initiatives such as the intermodal facility, the Start Up Minot entrepreneurial program and workforce development.

“Workforce is something we’re spending a lot of time, energy and resources on,” Kramer said. “It is an area that we anticipate expanding our scope and figuring out what our role is so that we don’t miss out on some of those state opportunities that are in front of us.”

A portion of funds requested by the Minot Area Council of the Arts would support the city band and the educational outreach of the symphony. The larger share would go to general programs and services of the council in supporting more than 50 member arts organizations.

Justin Anderson, executive director for the Minot Council of the Arts, cited a 2015 survey showing arts activity in the Minot region is a $13.5 million annual industry, generating more than $486,000 in direct revenue to local government.

“We are in the process of launching a subscription program for businesses to showcase local art and are working toward providing professional development programming for local artists. We have also begun work on a huge project that will draw tourism to Minot and will change the view from the Broadway bridge for many years to come,” Anderson said.

Souris Basin Planning Council, which has a mission to support economic development in the seven-county region, proposes to tie any funds received to its lending and job creation goals.

The Commission on Aging provides services to seniors, of which the largest is the nutrition program that includes Meals on Wheels.

First District Health Unit also provided information to the council Monday, although its annual budget request is separate from the community contribution process.

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