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Minot begins work in 2nd round of national contest for millions of dollars in disaster money

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MINOT, North Dakota — Building a children's science museum and developing bus shelters are among projects being considered as Minot moves into the second phase of a national competition for nearly $1 billion in federal disaster recovery money.

The Minot area is among 40 applicants still in the running in Housing and Urban Development's National Disaster Resilience Competition. It aims to help communities recover from disasters and make them better able to handle future disasters by giving them up to $500 million.

About 30 applicants were eliminated last month. Those remaining are now developing specific plans that are due in October. Successful proposals will be announced early next year, the Minot Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1faeMjs ).

The June 2011 Souris River flood damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 homes and other structures in Minot, causing nearly $700 million in damage. The city's broad proposal in the grant competition focuses on five areas: flood protection and river management; safe, affordable housing; resilient transportation and infrastructure; economic development; and strategies to support vulnerable populations.

People representing various segments of the community such as education, military, economic development, government, parks and vulnerable populations gathered this week to discuss more specific ideas. Numerous possibilities were broached, ranging from landscape improvements such as a riverfront greenway and a downtown public square to flood control measures, such as the creation of a regional flood control district.

Ideas also included measures to improve responses to disasters, such as work to clarify emergency evacuation routes and improve rail safety.

A shortcoming in Minot's application is the lack of private investment in the resilience plan, said City Planner Donna Bye. The city is inviting participation by organizations and businesses interested in helping fund community projects.

Bye and other officials plan to attend a national resilience academy in Denver next week, consisting of workshops conducted by the Rockefeller Foundation, which has partnered with HUD to help participants improve the quality of their applications.

The goal is to produce the best projects possible, said Sam Carter, associate director of resilience for the foundation.

"Federal dollars will go to better ideas, and there will be better outcomes," he said.


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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