Grand Forks Park District is considering turf and water facilities year round

The district is working on hiring a consultant who would produce a report estimating the financial ins and outs of a year-round facility with artificial turf fields, an indoor track, basketball / volleyball courts. ball and other versatile sports equipment. For the moment, it is a question of setting up a call for tenders – “RFP” – for consultants to do this work and decide whether it should also include an aquatic installation.

Park district staff have been kibitzing with the city’s amateur athletic groups since last summer, but they’ve been hearing about the need for an indoor “bubble” type facility for years.

“Having a facility like this would allow us to have year-round sports that are normally more focused on the summer,” Jill Nelson, director of operations and community relations for the park district, told the Herald. “It would also allow us to run tournaments, which would help the economic impact of Grand Forks and our community and therefore businesses as well.”

Nelson said the park district hopes the RFP is ready by the end of January, but does not have a specific deadline for the consultant’s study to be concluded because they do not know where the bubble or the potential aquatic installation could be successful.

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Columbia Mall

Dryland facilities could be built at Columbia Mall, a declining 32nd Avenue mall that could undergo radical changes.

Documents obtained via a request for Herald records indicate that developers and city staff have drawn up plans that would install mixed-use multi-family buildings – which typically means commercial space on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. upper – in the northern part of the property of the shopping center which are currently parking lots and a big box retailer place. Other proposals would leave the old retail outlet and convert it to a location for Riverside Christian School.

The interior of the mall, the documents say, could house basketball and volleyball courts, lacrosse and football fields, a Sanford “Power” facility or other locations for athletes. Other features on offer include a theater, convenience store, indoor play area, and all-season outdoor entertainment center.

The developers and the city also envisioned a public plaza in the same vein as that planned for the center of The Beacon, a three-building complex of commercial and apartment spaces that is expected to replace the now demolished Townhouse Hotel. , according to the city administrator. Todd Feland.

City staff asked an accounting consultant to review documents provided by mall owners that would indicate what ideas for the mall it would behoove city officials to offer tax incentives, if any. That could mean a “payment in lieu of tax” plan or “tax raise funding,” according to Feland. Under these plans, developers would, for several years, pay property taxes to the city and other local governments as if the mall remained intact, as its assessed value would increase after being redeveloped. Feland said mall owners could also choose to maintain the status quo.

“We want a region that is more exciting, more attractive and that will stimulate economic development and impact in our community and, along the way, improve the quality of life, if we can, for our community and our region,” said declared Feland. “If we can move beyond the status quo, I think that should be the goal.”

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