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Minot wins $74.3 million in federal funding to help recover from 2011 flood

MINOT, N.D. -- Minot, devastated by flooding in 2011, has been awarded $74.3 million in federal funds for cities or states hit by major natural disasters in recent years.

Minot Flood
The Souris River begins to pour into a neighborhood after levees could no longer hold back floodwaters Thursday in Minot. The city's evacuation zone expanded Thursday as the river spilled over dikes. Christian Randolph / Forum Communications Co.

MINOT, N.D. -- Minot, devastated by flooding in 2011, has been awarded $74.3 million in federal funds for cities or states hit by major natural disasters in recent years.

Minot Mayor Chuck Barney was notified of the grant by U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp on Tuesday afternoon. The city of about 46,500 residents was one of 13 communities selected from 40 applications to share in $1 billion through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program.

The funds will be used to provide recovery and revitalization for housing and other projects in Minot which was struck by the disastrous Souris River, also known as the Mouse,  flood in 2011. Heitkamp called it “our state’s forgotten flood.”

“This is certainly good news for the community of Minot, which has demonstrated its resilience in so many ways since the historic flooding of 2011,” Hoeven said in a news release. “The city has worked earnestly to recover and address the community’s vital needs, including increasing the size of its workforce, boosting the supply of affordable housing, broadening its economic base and providing rigorous protection against future flooding.”

Heitkamp, in an interview from her Washington, D.C., office said that she had met with HUD Secretary Julian Castro who told her Tuesday that the Minot application was “very, very impressive.”

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“He told me it was highly competitive and that he was so impressed by the Minot application. It really rose to the top,” Heitkamp said.

She said a majority of the funding will be used to help low- and moderate-income homeowners who almost five years later are still feeling the effects of the flooding.

Some are still waiting for buyouts, while others are looking to relocate on possible higher ground or in other affordable housing locations.

Heitkamp said the 2011 flood really came at a bad time for low- and moderate-income homeowners as the price of property and homes was soaring in the city because of the oil boom.

“There were lots going for $120,000,” in the city, she said, about the prices for housing in the area.

Many still don’t realize, either, that many Minot residents lost everything in the flood, the senator said.

After all of the years, Minot still has “an enormous amount of devastation” from the flood, she said.

It just didn’t get the national attention that 1997 Grand Forks flood did when it was able to secure funding and get flood protection in place in a much shorter time frame. Heitkamp said federal budgets have grown tighter now, too, but that the $73 million grant will certainly help -- although the city was asking for $175 million.

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The senator also said it’s only part of the the story for the city, however, as it also must now seek aid from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make progress on further flood protection. That’s the other part of the puzzle to improving the city’s “resiliency” to future flooding, she said.

With Grand Forks now secure from flooding and Fargo in the bullseye of protection work, Heitkamp said she doesn’t want to see Minot be the “forgotten city”

For now, it’s $73 million closer to improving its situation.

Related Topics: HEIDI HEITKAMP
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