Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.
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Grand Forks city leaders crowded into a lower-level room at City Hall on Monday to hash out next year's budget, a process that promises to be fraught with tough decisions. Should the city entice more employees into retirement? How should it manage a new sales tax proposal—likely headed to voters this year—while it juggles staff salaries and services?
County Commissioner Diane Knauf announced her resignation at a Tuesday meeting of the County Board. First elected in 2006, Knauf's last day in office will be July 31. County officials were unable to locate her resignation letter Friday and could not cite her reason for resigning. County Commissioner Gary Malm said it coincided with her retirement from Northeast Human Services. "She was very good to work with—always took her part and did her share of what was necessary to do," Malm said. Knauf was unable to be reached Friday.
Staffing changes are coming to four positions at Grand Forks' Alerus Center as it transitions from direct, public operation to private management working on contract. The Philadelphia-based firm Spectra is expected to assume operations of the Alerus Center from the city by July 9, following contract negotiations that wrapped up June 16. As a result, the employees at the center are being released from city employment, and it's entirely up to Spectra who joins their new staff.
The votes are counted, and for the first time in months, the story of Grand Forks' Arbor Park is about more than an upcoming election.
Grand Forks voters decided 2,451-2,269 to reject a ballot measure Tuesday evening requiring the city to transfer Arbor Park, 15 S. Fourth St., to the Grand Forks Park District.
When Grand Forks leaders started loosening restrictions on private parties at bars, it passed through an early review almost without a peep. Not so on Monday.
There are a few out-of-the-ordinary things to remember about Tuesday's election on Arbor Park, from where voting takes place to how the ballot language works. The election is set to decide the fate of the pocket park at 15 S. Fourth St. Petitioners who hope to preserve it have blocked a city land deal at the park with thousands of signatures, forcing Tuesday's special election. Their proposal asks voters to decide whether the park should be transferred to a caretaker group—which will be the Park District—for care "in perpetuity."
Backers of construction at Grand Forks' Arbor Park condense their position down to a simple slogan: "Vote No to Grow." They argue that Arbor Park, 15 S. Fourth St., has been marked for development since it was created after the flood of 1997, always waiting for the right development opportunity. Now that the city has found a project for the site they're urging a Tuesday vote against preserving the park instead.
Those leading the charge to preserve Arbor Park will be the first to tell you it's a "work of art."
Alerus Center leaders voted unanimously to approve a management contract for the Grand Forks building on Friday morning, setting a timeline the for the Philadelphia-based firm Spectra to assume operations by July 9.