Minot Park District Moves Forward on the ‘MARC’, Proposes New Funding Method for District

The Minot Park District and Park Board held a public forum at the Municipal Auditorium this afternoon to present and discuss recommendations on a possible Minot rec center. The proposed facility is the result of months of work by IBIS Enterprises, the consulting group that was hired to survey Minot’s stakeholder organizations and develop the proposal.

Introducing the ‘MARC’ — The Minot Aquatics & Recreation Center

The public forum drew a crowded house and included representatives from Dickinson, Williston, and Grand Forks who were in town to comment on the experiences of their communities as they developed their rec centers. The latter half of the forum included the details on the proposed Minot facility;  I’ll outline them below.

It’s important to know that the footprint you see below is not a final architectural plan. It was put together to provide the Park Board and public a visual tool to help communicate the size, scope, design concepts, and probable uses of the facility. If approved, the final plans will likely look significantly different from what you’ll see next.

Facility Details…

Again, this is all conceptual at this point, but the preliminary plan includes the following:

  • 400 Meter Indoor Track
  • Full Size Synthetic Turf Soccer & Activity Field
  • 50 Meter Competition Pool with Seating for 1200 (capacity to host larger regional swim meets)
  • Extensive Additional Aquatic Facilities including a Lazy River and Water Park, Physical therapy pool, Wave Rider, and Cool Down Pool (required for competition)
  • Indoor Tennis Courts
  • Indoor Basketball Courts
  • Child Care Facilities
  • Cardio and Weight Training Equipment
  • Indoor Playground

Size, Design & Estimated Cost

The facility proposed combines two different construction methods described as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ construction. The total finished square footage estimated is 444,000 square feet broken up as follows:

  • Hard Construction (think brick and mortar with a solid roof): ~ 210,000 square feet
  • Soft Construction (think air-supported with a bubble roof): ~ 233,000 square feet
  • Location: No locations were suggested, but the site plan is expected to require upwards of 30 acres.

Estimated Cost: ~$88 Million

And the Public Says…

I don’t have any actual quotes, but the overwhelming sentiment of the room was in full support of the facility.

And The Park Board Says…

Shortly after the end of the public forum, a special meeting of the Park Board was called to discuss the proposal and possible financing options. It was a short meeting, but the Park Board moved forward with two motions that passed unanimously.

Motion One — Let’s Move Forward on The MARC: PASSED

The Park Board members voted to support the proposed facility and move forward with making plans to find funding for the project.

Motion Two — Reorganize Funding for the Entire Park District Operations: PASSED

In a nutshell, the Park Board proposed the following plan to change the funding structure for all Park District operations. The below plan will need to be voted on by the people in a special election — in other words, you and I will need to approve this plan before it happens.

  1. Suspend the use of property taxes for financing Park District operations.
  2. Implement a 1 cent sales tax to fund Park District operations including the construction of the MARC.

Next Steps…

Another special meeting of the Park Board was set for Wednesday, February 4th by which point ballot language will be ready for approval and the expectation will be to continue moving forward in the process to set a special election date.

Josh Wolsky

Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot.

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