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Grand Forks Committee of the Whole members discuss whether to increase special event funding

The additional funding would go toward the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau

Grand Forks City Hall
Grand Forks City Hall, 255 N. 4th St. Sam Easter / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – Members of the Grand Forks City Council on Monday discussed the possibility of increasing the funding that is used by the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau to aid events that bring people to the community.

The 2022 special events budget is $130,851, with $43,250 in event funding already committed for events planned as of Jan. 4. A total of $178,250 was committed for 2021 events, which included funds rolled over from 2020.

The Event Funding Program provides money to groups and organizations that foster the community by hosting new or expanding events that help promote Grand Forks. The dollars specifically go toward events that make a significant economic impact on the city and draw both local and non-local visitors.

Increasing the funding to $250,000 could help “take us a lot further” for future events, CVB Executive Director Julie Rygg said.

During Monday’s meeting, Rygg told council members about the impacts she has seen on her organization’s budget.

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“Our budget, of course, has taken a big hit in the last two years because of COVID and less people traveling,” Rygg told council members Monday night. “It’s right now harder and harder for us to put more funds into that program.”

Rygg reminded council members that they have in the past discussed increasing the amount put into the Event Funding Program. She outlined the benefits of doing so, as it has been harder for the Greater Grand Forks CVB to provide assistance to event organizers.

The city has been funding events in Grand Forks since the early 2000s with the funding being tied to sales tax. Funding generally has increased each year depending on the amount sales tax is estimated to increase.

Rygg said events have a great impact in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, adding, “our events in our communities are really our attractions."

Monday’s meeting wasn’t technically a full City Council meeting, but instead a meeting of the city’s Committee of the Whole – a panel made up of council members but one that helps gather facts and discuss issues rather than actually make decisions.

Council members will decide in early February whether to increase the funding the Event Funding Program will receive.

In other Committee of the Whole news from Monday’s meeting:

  • The group moved forward with the donation of Grand Forks Police Department squad car No. 13 to the Law Enforcement Museum at Bonanzaville in West Fargo. The squad car belonged to Cody Holte, who was killed in the line of duty on May 27, 2020. While car No. 13 was scheduled to be traded in 2022 at the trade-in value of $10,800, the GFPD will cover the loss of the trade-in by using $15,000 that was donated by the End of Watch Ride.
  • The reconstruction of Belmont Road was discussed. The work on the project will consist of reconstructing Belmont Road from 47th Avenue South to Rivers Edge Drive. The proposed reconstruction will replace the existing two-lane rural section asphalt roadway with a three-lane concrete urban roadway with curb and gutter; install storm sewer and street lights; reconstruct driveway approaches; and install a concrete shared-use path and sidewalk. The assessed construction cost is $696,000 with 80% of the construction cost for pavement and street lights being funded by city share and the remaining 20% special assessed to benefiting properties.
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 MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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