MINOT — There’s no groundbreaking about to get underway, but Minot Parks and Recreation does want to know what projects to include in their five-year planning process. Several proposed projects were unveiled during a public input session at the City Auditorium on Wednesday evening.
“Right now, with some drawings on paper, we want to know if we are on the right track,” said Ron Merritt, Parks and Recreation director. “We are just asking for input. We want to make sure we are going in the right direction.”
“We are just asking for input. We want to make sure we are going in the right direction.” Ron Merritt, Parks and Recreation director
Included in the long-range proposal are improvements and additions to the City Auditorium. For many years the facility has been the home to a variety of sporting events, including various basketball and volleyball tournaments, both high school and amateur. Among the proposed plans are improvements that would add additional basketball court space to the facility, give it an exterior facelift, and an overall update throughout the building.
The added basketball court space would take up part of the current parking at the northeast corner of the auditorium. Always at a premium during major events at the centrally located facility, parking lost would be replaced by parking lot improvements at the corner of Burdick Expressway and 6th Street, just southwest of the building’s main entrance.
“What we looked at was, how would we replace this facility in our community if we wanted to build a new one somewhere else?” said Merritt. “How would you do it?”
A walking path above the newly proposed court layout would allow for daily use by the public. More court space would also allow the current auditorium floor to become more of a multi-purpose venue.
“We could take the court out and put turf down,” explained Merritt. “Those are the kinds of things we are looking at.”
The idea of having an indoor turf area really gained momentum several months ago when ice making equipment at one of three existing rinks at MAYSA Arena broke down.
“We put turf down on the rink and had amazing use in there,” remarked Merritt. “It was as busy as the ice rinks were. That showed us that there is a huge demand for it. We’re programming that in, not just focusing on athletics. There are a lot of people that want facilities for other things.”
Proposed improvements at MAYSA include a fourth sheet of ice, a fieldhouse area, and an indoor playground.
“The playground would be for people to just come and use, for all age groups,” said Merritt.
“The playground would be for people to just come and use, for all age groups.”Merritt
Expansion at MAYSA would follow the existing configuration, with the fourth rink in line with the other three, as would be the turf and playground areas. An additional entrance and a new mezzanine to connect all the indoor venues is included.
An aquatics center that was once included in proposed five-year planning has been removed, although not entirely. Merritt explained that the project emphasis has shifted due to the recent approval of a bond issue that included funding for the addition of a pool at Minot’s new high school in the northwest corner of the city.
“Public Schools will leave space to the south of that building for an aquatics center someday,” said Merritt. “Someday down the road, when our community is ready for that, there would be the option of adding on to that 50-meter facility and having a public aquatics center.”
With the projects early in the developmental process, no funding options have yet been explored. However, it is estimated that improvements as proposed at the City Auditorium and MAYSA would each cost about $30-million.