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East Grand Forks looks at apartment building’s needs

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News Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks Herald
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Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

As East Grand Forks officials consider restructuring the city Economic Development and Housing Authority, city planner Nancy Ellis is trying to shine a light on needs at the Sunshine Terrace.

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The city-owned apartment complex for people ages 55 and older, including those with disabilities, was rebuilt in 2002 after the flood of 1997. Ellis said the building may now require some repairs and improvements.

Ellis, who is with the department of community development, is looking into the complex to help City Administrator David Murphy handle some EDHA-related matters as the city searches for a new director and discusses the possibility of splitting EDHA’s economic development and housing responsibilities.

The facility had been supervised by longtime EDHA Director Jim Richter, who retired last month following questions over the EDHA’s handling of an unpaid $510,000 city loan.

At this point, Ellis said she is still in the initial information-gathering stage with the apartments and that “no decisions whatsoever” have been made about what needs to be done. She said she is meeting with employees, finding out who is in charge of maintenance and cleaning and trying to determine a course of action for the building.

However, she said it’s clear that a number of things must be done.

Possible repairs

From her initial investigations, Ellis said the building could use a few improvements, such as an office with windows and working air conditioning, as well as cooling for the hallways.

At an EDHA board meeting last week, Ellis gave a verbal update on the status of her work with Sunshine Terrace. She said the building didn’t appear to be getting cleaned as well as it could’ve been, and that the hallways were very warm due to the fact that there are only fans and no air conditioning in the hallway.

She added that most of the doors have draft blockers at their bases to keep hot air from the hallways from getting into their apartments.

Before any major action can be taken at Sunshine Terrace, Ellis said a capital improvement plan must be established.

Murphy said every department and major piece of equipment owned by East Grand Forks has a capital improvement plan in place to keep track of the expected life span, improvements and costs of maintaining them.

Ellis said a plan would be developed by early July once she has gathered more specific information about what the building’s needs are and how much revenue it generates.

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Garrett Richie
Garrett Richie is a general assignment reporter and digital writer for The Grand Forks Herald. Richie is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is formerly of The Ludington Daily News in Ludington, Mich. Have a good story idea? Contact Richie by either phone or email, both of which are listed below. If you would like to comment on a story, send a letter to the editor with Richie's name and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words, and all letters are subject to editing. Email to letters@gfherald.com or mail to The Grand Forks Herald.
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