Grand Forks City Council members hear update on feasibility study for indoor sports facility, aquatics center

In April, the Park District hired the consulting firm BerryDunn/GreenPlay to complete a feasibility study. The firm's task was to assess the possibility of a 300,000-square-foot indoor multi-use sports facility.

Grand Forks City Hall
Grand Forks City Hall, 255 N. 4th St. Sam Easter / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – The need for an indoor sports facility and aquatics center was highlighted at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, as council members heard an update on a project feasibility study.

In April, the Park District hired the consulting firm BerryDunn/GreenPlay to complete the feasibility study, which will assess the possibility of a 300,000-square-foot indoor multi-use sports facility that could host a variety of competitive sports.

The study will not only determine the scope of amenities and features that could be incorporated in the facility, but will also determine potential locations.

Jill Nelson, the Grand Forks Park District's director of operations and community relations, provided council members a projected timeline for the feasibility study. The Park District hopes to have the final study completed by December.

With the project coordination and information gathering having kicked off, the next phase in the timeline is to gather public input on what residents would like to see. Public input will include focus groups, public meetings and surveys and is anticipated to last from July to October.


Nelson said a website will be set up so the public will be able to be involved “every step of the way” for the process.

Phase three will consist of a demographic analysis looking at trends and survey responses, phase four will focus on a site analysis and conceptual plans and phase five will be a financial assessment. The final phase will entail the draft and final plans.

Council member Bret Weber on Monday talked about the benefits of the indoor sports facility and aquatics center not only for quality-of-life and economic development aspects, but also because the city’s aging swimming pools are becoming unusable.

“Our current situation, our current context is getting dire,” Weber said. “We are losing all of our swimming pools in this community.”

Council members agreed to increase the time limit of citizen comments from three to five minutes and agreed that time for comments should come sooner during meetings.

In other council news Monday:

  • Council members heard a proposal from Braun Intertec Corporation for geotechnical evaluation services for Highway 81 development in the amount of $84,780. The services are to evaluate the soil in the Highway 81 and 27th Avenue North area, where there are proposed infrastructure improvements for the Highway 81 annexation. The evaluation is split into three areas of focus. Area A will focus on the sanitary lift station, sanitary booster station, stormwater pond, various intersection improvements and numerous pipeline utilities. Area B will focus on improvements for the wastewater treatment facility. Area C will focus on the work at the regional water treatment plant for raw water. Council member Ken Vein said his main concern with moving forward with the geotechnical evaluation services is not having other issues — such as raw water, odor and traffic in the annexation area — addressed.
  • The council received an overview of the Children’s Science Museum and Destination Park and heard a grant request. The Board of Directors is applying for a Defense Community Infrastructure Program grant and plans to request $8-10 million for the children’s museum building. Among the requirements for the grant is the recipient needs to enhance military value, military installation resilience and/or military family quality of life. Currently, the children’s museum is in the private fundraising phase.
  • Reviewed an overview and request from Birds Ride Inc., a company that provides environmentally friendly transportation across the world, to start an electric scooter sharing system within Grand Forks. Birds Ride Inc. wants to work with the city and UND to have a memorandum of understanding and is proposing a similar regulatory framework as to what already applies to bikes. The electric scooter sharing system would allow anyone 18 and older to rent a scooter and Birds Ride Inc. would provide the rental service 24 hours per day. The service would be operated through the Bird smartphone app, where riders can find the nearest Bird scooter on a map, unlock the scooter and complete a safety tutorial before starting their ride. Using the scooter would cost $1 to start and then a per-minute fee after that.
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or

Pronouns: She/Her
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