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Published February 03, 2014, 08:00 PM

City OKs Alerus Center land purchase

The Alerus Center can close on a $3 million land purchase after approval by the Grand Forks City Council on Monday.

By: Charly Haley, Grand Forks Herald

The Alerus Center can close on a $3 million land purchase after approval by the Grand Forks City Council on Monday.

The three lots south of the city-owned events center total 10.57 acres. All three purchases will be complete by at Jan. 10, 2015.

The council approved the land purchase unanimously without discussion.

City approves downtown association funds

Grand Forks City Council approved $75,000 for the Downtown Development Association Monday.

Council member Doug Christensen reminded the council that while current council members intend to give the DDA $75,000 each year for the next three years, they “cannot bind future councils,” so the DDA will have to be reviewed the next two years before receiving additional funds.

The $75,000 approved Monday will be used for projects and events, marketing, office expenses and hiring an executive director.

City approves funds for apartment

Grand Forks City Council approved federal funds Monday for an elevator in an apartment building with disabled and elderly tenants.

Of $450,000 available in HOME funds, the council allocated $250,000 to Cherry Heights Apartments at 110 Cherry St., where there is only one elevator and residents have been stranded when it breaks down, according to Meredith Richards, urban development deputy director.

The council also decided to seek a report on Markham Apartments, 615 First Ave. S., before deciding whether to help fund its purchase with remaining HOME funds.

Richards said the property is sought by the nonprofit Grand Forks Homes, which owns Cherry Heights.

Bid awarded for Alerus Center entrance

Construction will begin this year on the Alerus Center’s new entrance from 11th Avenue South.

Grand Forks City Council awarded the project to Paras Contracting of Fargo, which had the lowest bid of four contractors at $189,548.

The entrance is expected to be complete by the end of August and will be three lanes wide, according to the council agenda packet.

City to address council compensation

City staff will research Grand Forks’ council members’ compensation and office accommodations compared with those of other cities after a request by Council President Hal Gershman.

Because he’s not seeking re-election this year, Gershman said he thought it was appropriate he make the suggestion, which he said could help future council members.

Gershman noted that the council members don’t have working space in City Hall, and $5,200 has been the stipend consistently for several years.

“I think it’s time,” Gershman said. “I do know the work that City Council members do.”