Grand Forks Faculty Board approves the tax improve plan

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The Mark Sanford Education Center, headquarters of Grand Forks Public Schools. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

The tax exemption plan would affect three planned projects in the city center and one on the UND campus.

Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland said the projects that have received preliminary approval from Grand Forks City Council for “tax increase funding,” commonly known as TIF, total $ 116 million. With a TIF, property taxes remain as if no development had taken place for a specified number of years. At the end of the period, the property will be taxed at its new value.

The plan, which was approved by the Grand Forks County Commission last week, will be presented to the city council for public hearing and final approval on Monday, February 1st, Feland said.

With final approval, all but one project at the Lyons Auto location downtown would begin this summer, Feland said. Lyons Project developers plan to complete another major construction project in South Grand Forks before starting the Lyons Project, he said.

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Northridge Construction is proposing a $ 27.3 million project to replace Lyons Auto Supply with a multi-story building that houses office, retail and residential units across from City Hall on Fourth Street.

The Beacon by EPIC, a $ 48.9 million project, would replace the defunct townhouse motel with apartments, retail space, and a venue for public events at 710 First Ave. Replace N. If the TIF plan is finally approved, work will begin with the groundbreaking for two buildings this summer, with the groundbreaking for a third building in summer 2022.

A consortium of developers is ready to invest $ 7 million to renovate St. John’s Block on Third Street and DeMers Avenue.

Burian and Associates is proposing a $ 25 million plan to replace the UND memorial stadium with a five-story building, the Memorial Village, that houses the UND sports department on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors are. If the project is finally approved, Memorial Stadium demolition would begin this summer, Feland said.

The school board heard details of the four development projects from Mayor Brandon Bochenski, Council President Dana Sande and other city guides, as well as the developers and Keith Lund, President and CEO of Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, at their Jan. 11 board meeting.

At the meeting on Monday, Feland replied to a question from CEO Amber Flynn that he did not expect the Bonding Bill under consideration by law to adversely affect this TIF package, but “only complement it”.

Board member Doug Carpenter supports the TIF plan, “as much as I dislike the process,” he said, noting that he does not see it as an economic development per se as it does not add primary sector jobs to the local economy.

He advocated changing the state law requiring approval from tax authorities because “we either stamp it or we are the bad guy”.

Attorney and board member Shannon Mikula said the tax exemptions would “starve county funds for a significant period, 20 years (and) they will not fuel economic development without a healthy school district.”

She stressed that developers should not be allowed to question the estimated value of the refurbished properties. that would be “inappropriate,” she said.

Mikula added that “It is encouraging to see these projects” and said that she “would like to see a beautiful indoor soccer complex (built) in our community.”

Grand Forks “has little chance of experience,” said Feland. “We’re about 30% of where we should be.”

Board member Cynthia Shabb said she hoped the EPIC space at The Beacon would include fun, non-alcoholic public events.

In another action, the board unanimously approved early retirement proposals from 18 long-time teachers across the school district. Offering early retirement benefits to qualified teachers has been discussed extensively by Board members in the past. At its meeting on January 11th, the Board of Directors approved the lifting of the early retirement scheme with effect from the end of this school year.

Shabb also encouraged other school council members to reach out to Grand Forks Rep. Steve Vetter and urge him to remove candidates for the school board from the list of elected officials who would be required to declare party affiliation in a bill he sponsored .