The Minnesota Capital Investment Committee is currently on its Northwest Minnesota Tour, where representatives from the committee listen to capital improvement propositions from communities they may not hear from as much. On Thursday night, the committee visited Crookston at the UMC campus.
Chairmen of the Capital Investment Committee, Fue Lee, stated the committee will be going on five regional bonding tours until November 16. The Northwest tour is the first one on the schedule, starting on September 13. The Northwest tour locations include regional destinations such as Akeley, Bemidji, Mahnomen, Red Lake Falls, Crookston, and Moorhead. The purpose of these tours is for the committee to see what other communities have ideas regarding critical infrastructure opportunities.
“These are presented to members of the committee and folks with different political persuasion from different parts of the state,” said Lee, “It’s for some of my colleagues who don’t live in Minneapolis, and they can also hear about projects in the Minneapolis, and this tour specifically is for colleagues who aren’t from Northwest Minnesota. This will help us gain a wide understanding of different communities and their needs.”
The Crookston Care and Share presented to the committee and proposed money from the state for repairs and updates to the Hope Center and the Care and Share buildings. “We had to approach the legislators and talk to them about the possible bonding situations, or we to put a bill in,” said director of Care and Share Jane Freeman, “We wanted to let them know that we need their support if we’re going to keep Care and Share.” Care Share and Hope Center need electrical, plumbing, roofing, and window repairs. The total amount the Care and Share requested from the state was $1.5 million.
The University of Minnesota has sent out a $500,000,000 request from the state regardingAPR APR,ich stands for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement. These funds would be distributed through all of the U of M campuses.
As an extension to the U of M, UMC has requested just under ten million dollars in the HEAPR request. The most notable preservation project presented to the committee was the heating plant. This request is estimated to cost six million dollars. UMC requests also included the proposal for an electrical distribution replacement for the Sahlstrom Conference Center. This project was estimated to cost 1.25 million dollars.
Lee stated the tours set in 2023 will be the start of listening to communities about the beginning of projects so that they can be considered for funding. If the committee approves the projects, they will be recommended to the capital and possibly included in its budget.
The state received over $7.4 billion in formula funds over the next five years, with the majority requiring a state match. The projects being proposed to the committee could see some of this funding. “Earlier this Summer, Minnesota sent out a request to local communities and agencies to put in infrastructure requests,” said Lee, “What we received in July was around $7.4 billion for projects. After passing a robust $2.6 billion package last May, we can see great needs still exist.” The committee will revisit the packaged funding in February of 2024 and decide on a potential second package for the upcoming year when looking into community needs for critical infrastructure projects for 2024.
The next scheduled tour for the House Capital Investment Committee will be September 26 through September 28, where they will visit Northeast Minnesota communities.