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Published March 01, 2010, 08:36 PM

Civic Auditorium To Come Down

It's official: the Civic Auditorium in downtown Grand Forks is coming down, and apartments and commercial space will be put up in its place.

It's official: the Civic Auditorium in downtown Grand Forks is coming down, and apartments and commercial space will be put up in its place.

Tonight the Grand Forks City Council approved the project for the proposals and authorized city officials to sign agreements and the deed.

City council members have been trying to figure out what to do with the Civic Auditorium since 2001. That's when the Alerus Center was built. The Civic hasn't seen much use since then.

Council members think the project approved tonight, which calls for apartments and commercial space, will help revitalize the downtown area.

All council members voted for the project except Terry Bjerke. He says he doesn't like that the federal government is giving the city money for the project, and then the city is giving it to the developers.

Bjerke says, “I don't believe it's the role of the government to subsidize people to build apartments. For example, if you build apartments where the city council wants you to, you have a chance to get money, maybe property tax breaks or whatever. If you just build apartments somewhere else in town, you get nothing. Well, I don't think it's the role of the government to pick favorites.”

The council did open up bids for the project to everyone.

The only proposals they got back were the ones they went with. Dakota Commercial will be building a four-story building of commercial space and 50 apartments. Metro Plains will be building a three-story complex of 40 low-income rental units.

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