Hopefully City Hall isn’t kicking can down the road on gathering space
The decision by the Minot City Council to effectively continue pursuing the current plan for the site location for the gathering space, only extending the deadline to acquire property to the end of September, would seem to indicate that the City and property owners must be close to agreements.
In choosing to maintain the course, the council rejected two other options: seeking to renegotiate with HUD to re-categorize the project to allow greater flexibility; or seeking an amendment to the HUD agreement to allow for a smaller project.
The challenge of pursuing the current plan is that, despite the council decision, there remains a substantial difference between some property owners and the City. A group of property owners met with Minot Daily News just weeks ago, prior to presenting their concerns to the city council, as well as offering an alternative that they felt might be more agreeable to all parties.
It’s unclear if any of these issues have been addressed or if the sides are any closer when it comes to the cost of acquiring properties. In some cases, the chasm appears vast.
Hopefully, city leaders have quietly made progress with property owners and this isn’t just kicking the can down the road.
If there is realistic reason for optimism, then delaying the deadline for property acquisition by a month is understandable.
However, looming over the entire gathering space project is a September 2022 deadline to spend about $6 million in National Disaster Resilience grant dollars on the project. Should the current plan fall through and the City have to effectively start over with plans for a different location entirely, the clock will be ticking.
That ticking clock should be in the minds of the council and administration.
MDN suggests the City of Minot be well-prepared for either success by the end of September or pursuing an alternative quickly.