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Growth Fund moves forward with talks for new CTE center

Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland urged the committee to move forward with the process in order to meet timelines.

Grand Forks City Hall
Grand Forks City Hall, 255 N. 4th St. Sam Easter / Grand Forks Herald

In a Monday meeting, Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland urged the city’s Growth Fund Committee to act quickly on a proposal that would help bring a career and technical education center to Grand Forks.

The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation recently received a grant from the state of North Dakota to conduct preliminary research toward building a CTE center in Grand Forks . The North Dakota Legislature has set aside $70 million through the state’s Career and Technical Education Department for school districts to increase their CTE opportunities and resources.

The grant funding will be awarded in two rounds, with $35 million awarded in each round. The deadline for the first round is Oct. 1; the deadline for the second round is Dec. 1. The goal is to raise at least $10 million to match the Legislature’s state capital grant, as well as targeting the October and December deadlines.

Feland urged the committee to move forward with the process in order to meet timelines.

“I think there’s broad industry understanding of the importance of this issue, and there’s a broad public sector understanding of the importance of this,” Feland said. “I think if we don’t have a sense of urgency, and if we don’t have a sense of taking a calculated risk, we won’t meet some important timelines.”

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The first choice for the location would be at 1210 North 43rd Street, which is the former Grand Forks Inn and Suites. It would be demolished, and the new CTE center would be built in its place.

The property is approximately 5.7 acres, and it has an estimated value of $1,005,900. It is listed through Dakota Commercial, and it has a listing price of $600,000 with a demolition cost between $700,000 and $800,000. It is no longer occupied, and it is currently owned by the American Bank Center in Bismarck.

The committee motioned to have more discussions on the demolition of the site in the next JDA meeting.

In other business, the Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee granted Valley TechPros a $22,000 C-RUN loan on Monday.

C-RUN is a program provided by the Economic Development Administration to provide inexpensive loans to assist businesses harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be mostly used to help the business rebrand itself through new marketing, and a small portion of the funds will be used for store modification, but none of the funds will be used for construction or modifications to the organization’s physical location at 523 DeMers Ave. in Grand Forks.

The Loan Review Committee, consisting of representatives from the SBDC, EDC and city, reviewed Valley TechPros’s application and considered, “collateral, debt service coverage, management/ownership experience and personal credit, along with overall impact of the pandemic,” according to a Growth Fund staff report, as well as access to other disaster recovery assistance.

The company has one JDA Start-Up loan active. It was in a state of deferral until June, but the business requested a three-month forbearance due to COVID-19, so its first payment is now due Sept. 1.

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