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Grand Forks puts 'Paving for Pizza' grant to work

Grand Forks Street Department employees Chris Shawstad, left, and Jacob Thompson take a break from patching potholes on Cottonwood Street with an automated truck that the city acquired this year. Domino's Pizza donated $5,000 for the project. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Chris Shawstad of the Grand Forks Street Dept. patches potholes on Oak Street as crews work throughout the city repairing streets. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

It was almost business as usual on Monday for street crews filling potholes in Grand Forks, all except for their orange Domino's Pizza vests and matching logos on their truck.

The gear came shortly after the city received a $5,000 grant from Domino's Pizza in August, as part of the company's Paving for Pizza program it launched in June.

Domino's reported last month it had received more than 137,000 nominations from customers in 15,275 different ZIP codes across 50 states. Although Domino's couldn't say how many nominations it had received from Grand Forks, a spokesperson said earlier this summer there were enough to catch the company's attention.

The city used the money to buy about 40 tons of pothole material, according to city Public Information Officer John Bernstrom.

"It was one of those things where we were trying to come up with a way to quantify," Bernstrom said. "Because the crews are out there anyways. Material was, we felt, the best way to do that."

Bernstrom estimated 40 tons will last crews a little over one week, depending on the weather.

Grand Forks is one of 11 cities Domino's has awarded so far, according to a press release the company sent last month. Other winners included Havre, Mont., Des Moines, Iowa, and Milwaukee.

Bernstrom couldn't recall any other grants the city has received from a company as big as Domino's, which reportedly had more than $12.2 billion in global retail sales in 2017.

"This is not something that happens—people don't openly want to give governments money," Bernstrom said. "Especially when it comes infrastructure stuff like this."

Emily Allen

Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.

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