The East Grand Forks City Council is poised to appoint members to the newly-formed Building Committee at its next meeting. The committee, formed to take stock of the city's current amenities and to plan for how those amenities can be incorporated into the city's future, is expected to begin meeting the first week of March.

The formation of the Building Committee has been in the works for several weeks, said City Administrator David Murphy, and is a response in part to the three aging arenas in East Grand Forks.

"We have to look at either updating them or replacing them, and that's something the council has talked about for a while," he said. "So we went through a visioning and strategic planning session, and one of the things that came out of that was to put together the Building Committee to see what functionalities are working well, what areas we could improve on, and what amenities we could bring in."

At a strategic planning meeting Tuesday evening, Feb. 16, East Grand Forks Parks and Rec Director Reid Huttunen presented a list of eight to 10 names he recommended be appointed to the committee, including city staff and parks commissioners.

Council members offered feedback – such as incorporating more business owners and citizens to the committee, and providing the committee with a list of ranked council priorities to ensure visions are aligned – but ultimately seemed prepared to move forward with committee appointments.

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Soon, the council will shift its attention to forming the Fundraising Task Force, a larger group that will work hand-in-hand with the Building Committee. Murphy said the intent is to begin work to establish the task force in the coming weeks.

In other news out of East Grand Forks City Hall:

  • East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander is in the process of meeting with state lawmakers in hopes of proposing legislation that would change the formula that calculates cities' allocation of local government aid from the state. In recent years, local government aid to East Grand Forks has trailed off when compared to neighboring cities such as Crookston and Thief River Falls in a trend Gander called "troubling."
  • The City Council also passed a number of items, including approving to start the hiring process for a new administrative assistant/dispatcher/jailer, accepting the quotes and awarding the proposals to allow Tony Anderson Construction to move forward with ADA improvements in the city for $142,692.50, and approving the plans and greenlighting the advertisement of bids for the 2021 Safe Routes to School Sidewalk Project.