Plan for downtown gathering space hopefully has options

The City of Minot has set a deadline for acquisition of property for development of a “gathering space” downtown.

The grant funding sets a deadline for the project’s completion somewhere downtown.

These things likely are going to conflict, and the City should be well prepared with alternatives on hand.

Current landowners have mixed feelings about the City’s various offers for acquisition of properties. Oh, there is plenty of optimism in negotiations but mixed reactions to a likely price with others.

Yet, two clocks are ticking. The new official deadline for property acquisition and the one associated with the federal funds paying for the development.

As Minot Daily News previously opined, a deadline was likely to instantly inspire acquisition cost. Yet there is still the required deadline for completion of the project. It is neither a simple situation nor a white-or-black issue. While a complicated issue with many moving parts, the best solution so as to not lose the boon of federal dollars is to make sure City Hall has alternatives in place.

The City’s initial preferred location was on a parking lot just north of Burdick Expressway on Broadway. There were valid arguments on both sides. This current one then became more preferred. Now if negotiations on property acquisition break down, city leaders should well be ready with options palatable to the public.

Whether one supports a downtown gathering space or not, the real shame is if the community can’t come together to make it happen. The alternative is that Minot gives that money back to the federal government. It won’t come back here.

Minot needs to be prepared with options.