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Published January 13, 2014, 08:43 PM

Plans for 42nd Street 'Destination Corridor' project could include space for library, museum, arts

Future plans for the 42nd Street “Destination Corridor” project in Grand Forks could include a library, performance hall and art museum in one shared space.

By: Charley Haley, Grand Forks Herald

Future plans for the 42nd Street “Destination Corridor” project in Grand Forks could include a library, performance hall and art museum in one shared space.

There have been conversations among project supporters to have a multipurpose facility in the corridor, providing needed space to the Grand Forks Public Library and the North Dakota Museum of Art, as well as a performing arts venue, said Kristi Mishler, of the Community Foundation.

The foundation has already secured $50,000 in private funds for the project, which will be a funded and developed through a public-private partnership with the city of Grand Forks and private organizations, like the Community Foundation.

The project could start as early as this spring with the construction of large, illuminated sculptures on South 42nd Street from DeMers Avenue to 32nd Avenue.

Those sculptures are step one. From there, Destination Corridor supporters have many ideas, which will be discussed at the city’s Finance/Development Committee meeting Monday.

Possibilities

Mishler envisions the entire corridor to be an entertainment and tourism hub, with shopping, restaurants, businesses, housing and art.

The outdoor shopping area could be similar to the nearby outdoor malls in Maple Grove, Minn., and Albertville, Minn., she said, but with changing art projects reminiscent of some big cities.

The vision of a library, performance hall and art museum sharing one space would be something “cool, unique,” and new to Grand Forks, Mishler said.

“It would be monumental,” she said, adding that the facility would attract businesses.

Representatives from both the Grand Forks Public Library and NDMOA have said they need more space, Mishler said. The project on 42nd Street could be a way “of doing things more efficiently,” she said.

Brian Schill, chairman of the Grand Forks Public Library Board, declined to comment on the 42nd Street project, but said the board is looking at multiple options for a new library, including the 42nd Street possibility.

“We need a new space,” but there isn’t a commitment to a specific location yet, he said. In October, a task force recommended that Grand Forks build a new library instead of renovating the current facility at Library Circle, off of South Washington Street.

For the 42nd Street project, Mishler said she envisions possibly three buildings — a library, a museum space and a performance hall — possibly connected by a cafe, with art in each space to integrate them. She hopes UND could become involved in the project, possibly with its theater program using the performance space, she said.

But other stakeholders and project supporters also have ideas in the mix, and at this point these ideas are just conversations. Mishler added that anyone with suggestions for the Destination Corridor project can contact the Community Foundation at (701) 746-0668 or communityfoundation@gofoundation.org.

City’s role

The project will be discussed at Monday’s city Finance/Development Committee meeting, where city staff will seek the City Council’s guidance on how to proceed with the city’s role on the project.

The city’s 2014 budget designated $150,000 in beautification funds for the Destination Corridor, said Greg Hoover, Urban Development director. City staff members are seeking guidance on how to apply that money to the project.

It’s likely that the $150,000 would be used to help pay for foundations for the corridor’s sculptures, Hoover said, but he can’t know for sure until the issue goes through City Council.

Additionally, Hoover has been saving money in the Urban Development budget over the years for this project, and he expects to spend about $65,000 each year from 2015 to 2018 on the project, he said.

The city could also assist the corridor in other ways, Hoover said, like for example “piggy-backing” some electricity from a nearby stoplight to the sculptures, which are planned to be illuminated.

“I don’t really foresee the city getting into a situation where they maintain the sculptures,” but it’s possible, Hoover said.

“That’s part of what we’re asking for guidance on,” he said.

Urban Development is leading the city’s involvement in the Destination Corridor project, but it receives help from other departments, Hoover said.

Both Mishler and Hoover said the entire Destination Corridor is likely a 10- to 15-year project.

Mishler couldn’t provide a timeline many specific parts of the project because it depends on funding and support. A project like the library, performance hall and art museum facility could open more opportunities for grant funding, she said.

“Our goal is to work really hard this next year,” to try to solidify some plans and funding, she said.

Mishler hopes to see 15 or 16 sculptures completed by the end of 2014.

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