Hoeven: Minot Making Progress With CDBG Recovery Funds

Senator Worked to Secure $117 Million in CDBG Funds, $632 Million Total Federal Support to Help Minot Rebuild

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today was joined by local leaders to review the strides Minot is making to help get residents back in their homes and rebuild the city. City officials are using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds on a range of projects that are helping residents and businesses following the devastating flood of 2011.

Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked to secure more than $77 million in CDBG Disaster Relief funding for the city of Minot and Ward County in the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development budget. That included $67.3 million for the city of Minot and $10 million for Ward County to help rebuild the city and surrounding region after the 2011 flood. The senator also worked to secure an additional $40 million included in the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief bill that passed in January, for a total of more than $117 million in CDBG-DR funding for Minot and Ward County.

Total federal funding to the city and Ward County from all sources is more than $632 million to date, and Senator Hoeven continues to work with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to finalize an additional $18 million grant for the city’s Imagine Downtown plan, a complex of business and residential renewal projects that will help to restore and enhance the city’s center following severe flooding in 2011. The EDA and CDBG funding can be used together to leverage the federal help for large, complex recovery projects.

In the course of the day, Senator Hoeven visited with Marjorie Johnson, one of the first homeowners to have their homes rehabilitated under the CDBG-DR program. Mrs. Johnson had been living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer since June 2011. With the help of CDBG funding, she was able to move into her partially rehabilitated house about a few months ago. The contractor finished repairs to her house just recently. Her daughter, whose house is also being repaired, was also flooded and lives in a FEMA trailer in back of Ms. Johnson’s house.

“Marjorie Johnson embodies what this federal support is all about,” Hoeven said. “We have worked over the past two years to bring the resources needed to help Marjorie and others recover their homes and renew their city following the worst natural disaster in Minot’s history. Together, we are building a stronger city and a brighter future for everyone.”

So far, the city has approved 29 homes for rehabilitation, five for reconstruction and 80 for voluntary acquisitions. Minot officials continue to identify residents for eligibility. In addition, the funding has been used to provide infrastructure like water lines, sewer, electric and other features necessary to rebuilding.

The city is also using CDBG funding to advance other projects to help the city recover. For example, 20 percent of the apartments in the new Downtown Imagine Minot project, which should break ground next month, will include apartments at affordable rates per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. Additionally, the city continues to work with a local business to develop an affordable mixed-use neighborhood at the current Virgil Workman Site. The development would retain the FEMA temporary housing units already on the property.

Outstanding infrastructure needs that can also be addressed with CDBG funding are a landfill expansion; a sewer project and a new fire station to serve the 55th Street FEMA site; six lift stations; and the 6th Street underpass project.

Joining the senator for the day’s events were Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman city Finance Director Cindy Hemphill; City Manager Dave Waind; Public Information Officer Bob Lindee; contractor DSW Homes Superintendent David Sellers and Vice President of Operations Donald Gerratt; CDBG consultant firm CDM Smith was represented by Project Manager Bob Batherson, Case Worker Marcy Witteman and Construction Coordinator Steve Ates.