The newly formed board of directors for the proposed Grafton Community Center recently wrapped up a series of input sessions at Marketplace on 8th. The Marketplace building is the proposed site for the project. Sessions were held Tuesday thru Thursday this week. Board member Mike Leighton says the turn out was great. He says he hopes the board can raise around half a million dollars through private donations by November so that work can begin by the Christmas season. He says if enough private funds are raised, the project could receive matching grants through various organizations and bring the project's total resources to around 1.75 million dollars. Leighton says they would start by remodeling the bathrooms before moving onto the other interior improvements with wall removal and construction set for the spring. He says very little additional construction will be necessary, and that the focus will be on changing the overall feel of the building. Anne Runck out of Fargo has been hired to design the project. Runck was the winner of the 2005 contractor of the year award in Grand Forks and will be working with Fargo architect Bent Behm throughout the process. Leighton says the goal here is to create a center that Grafton citizens can be proud of. He says now that the input sessions have concluded, the fundraising process can begin. Donations are being handled by Barry Wilfahrt and Kristi Mishler with with Wilfahrt and Mishler Consulting in Grand Forks. Mishler is a Grafton native and Wilfahrt is the president of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce and believes a strong Grafton is good for Grand Forks. For More Pictures of the proposed designs like the Grafton Community Center on Facebook . Click the above picture for page link.
The fall football season kicks off on Friday night when the Grafton Spoilers play host to the Park River Fordville Lankin Aggies. Kick off is set for 7 o'clock, but you may want to get there a little earlier if you want a good place to park. Superintendent Jack Maus says ongoing construction has made for limited space near the football field, but that parking will be available in the High School parking lot or the lot adjacent to the bus barn. He says there's definitely enough parking but that fans may have to walk a little bit further than in the past. The parking constraints are a result of construction on Grafton's new middle school. Maus says as far as that project goes, a lot of progress has been made recently. He says those driving passed will be able to see a building starting to take shape as workers have begun to put up steel for the North elementary portion of the school. Adding that all the ground has been packed as well for the middle school addition to the South. Maus says they're working on setting up a website that will stream live video of the construction process. So be looking for more information on the launch date and web address in the near future.
An ordinance that would raise the Grafton city sales tax by half of a percent was given final approval by the Grafton City Council on Monday night. The ordinance now goes to the ballot for a vote of the people on November 4th. The increase would generate just over an estimated $200,000 each year and go towards the debt service for the city's flood protection project. Language in the ordinance states the tax would be terminated after a period of 25 years. Currently Grafton imposes a 2% sales and use tax on sales at retail stores, storage use and consumption and the gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages within the city. 1 1/2 percent of that goes to the Grafton Community Development Fund, while the remaining half percent benefits Grafton's Unity Hospital for the purposes of maintaining a consistent and viable health care center in the community
The Grafton City Council on Monday evening approved first reading of the city's preliminary budget for 2015. City Administrator Nick Zeigelmann presented the numbers. He said under the new budget the city mill levy will decrease by an estimated 5.68 mills and fall to 120.5. The drop will bring the city down to near 2011 levels, however at $6,061; the value per mill will increase by $326. Zeigelmann said $620,000 will be transferred into the city's General Fund, $210,00 over last year's transfer. The change reflects an increased cost to purchase electricity, debt service expenditures for Phase 3 of the water plant expansion project and replacement of the Alco lift station, along with an assumed 20% increase in healthcare costs. For Grafton utility customers, the 5% increase in the cost for the city to purchase power will translate into an estimated 12% rate increase. Budgeted revenues for the Water Department were adjusted to reflect a rate increase of approximately 25% for customers in 2015. Wastewater revenues were also adjusted to reflect an 11% increase in customer rates next year. Administrator Ziegelmann told the council that the property tax burden is down slightly from last year. He said 51% of homes in the city are valued at $50,000 or less. He said property taxes paid on a $50,000 home next year will run just over $271 per year or about $22.50 a month. On a home valued at $100,000; the homeowner could expect to pay just over $542 per year, or about $45 per month. Second reading for next year's preliminary budget is scheduled for September 8th at 6:00 p.m.
Public input sessions and building tours for the proposed Grafton Community Center begin this afternoon at the Marketplace on 8th building. Sessions will be held today through Thursday between 4 and 6 p.m. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served and Community Center project board members will be on hand to cover any questions or concerns. Proposed building designs will also be presented. The public is encouraged to attend.
The 21st Annual Pioneer Machinery Show is set for Sept. 6-7 at the Pembina County Historical Grounds 5 1/2 miles West of Cavalier. Pembina Historical Society's Zelda Hartje says both Saturday and Sunday will be filled with activities for the entire family. She says a vintage car show featuring a one-of-a-kind 1925 Case car begins at noon on Saturday with Spark Plug and Inner Tube Contests for the public as well. Another big event, the North Dakota State Championship Pedal Pull featuring 4-11 year olds from across the state will start at 1:00 on Saturday. The Popple Ridge Pickers, a bluegrass group out of Kittson County Minnesota perform on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 and 3:30. Admission to the Show is $8.00 for both days; children under 12 are admitted free. Gate opens Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. You can find more information on our news page at....
Girl Scouts–Dakota Horizons is making its summer push for girls and adult volunteers to join Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts of the USA has released new data showing the organization’s benefits for both girls and volunteers. Results of a summer pulse poll conducted on over 3,500 volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts in the K−5 age range showed Ninety-seven percent of parents agreed that Girl Scouts was a positive activity for their daughter. The Girl Scouts will be holding an informational open house at the Dakota Horizons Service Center on Demers Avenue in Grand Forks on September 11 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 for those interested in learning more. Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12.
About Girl Scouts–Dakota Horizons
Girl Scouts—Dakota Horizons is a non-profit organization that serves more than 15,000 members in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. For more information visit www.gsdakotahorizons.org or call 1-800-666-2141.
Walsh County is seeking public input on a draft of the county's Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan which includes all cities within the county. Though the plan is already in place, federal law requires it be updated every five years. Responders, government officials and the general public are invited to comment on the plan throughout the process. The plan includes information on flooding, summer and winter storms, homeland security and other risks to the county along with mitigation practices to reduce the impact of the incidents. The draft plan can be found on the Walsh county website at http://www.co.walsh.nd.us/ Once on the home page, you can navigate to the Emergency Management Department-Mitigation Planning. The link to the plan is located on the bottom of the page. Comments or questions concerning the plan can be directed to Brent Nelson, Walsh County Emergency manager at 352-2311. Submissions are due by September 5th. You can also email Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the public comments have been taken into consideration, the plan will be submitted to the North Dakota Dept. of Emergency Services and FEMA for review and approval.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program still has openings for Catfishing on the Red River this Saturday in Grand Forks. Participants will be instructed in catfish identification, tackle, gear, bait and techniques for catfish fishing on the Red River. A current fishing license is required. Cost for the workshop is $50. No lodging is available for the catfishing workshop. All equipment will be provided. For more information, including online registration, visit the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.