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Published November 08, 2010, 10:09 PM

City Council Discussion Heats Up On Proposed Wellness Center/Library Deal

Conversations about the new Choice Wellness Center in Grand Forks got heated at a city finance meeting.

Conversations about the new Choice Wellness Center in Grand Forks got heated at a city finance meeting.

It was not an easy discussion when the Grand Forks Park Board asked the city to help out with the new Wellness Center.

A request for $1 Million to cover things like building permits and sewer connections during construction.

"I received three phone calls today from three people who said you would be out of your mind to commit this money to this project," said City Council member, Dana Sande.

Money which could be viewed as tax dollars from people in Grand Forks to help pay for the new wellness center.

"I think it's the wrong way to go. The representation all along has been there will not be any public money in this," City Council member Eliot Glassheim said.

In exchange for covering these costs, the Park Board said they will give the city five acres of land north of the wellness site on 47th Street.

The land would then be a potential site for the proposed new library. One city council member says, this means they're not just giving the money away.

"We have to buy the land anyway. Plus, we get to keep the old building. We keep the old library and we have the ability to sell it and probably make one million dollars," said City Council member Doug Christensen. Another City Council member, Hal Gershman, agreed.

"Look at it this way. Let's assume the park board came to us and said, 'We will sell you this land for $1 Million.' Would someone tell me the difference if we did it that way?"

The Council did not make any decisions at the meeting so the City of Grand Forks can weigh in on the issue at a Community Discussion on November 15th.

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