Mandan News

Ellen Huber: Looking forward to more Mandan developments in 2010

My last column in the Mandan News reflected on community progress in 2009. This week’s column takes a look at what’s coming in 2010.

• Redevelopment expected to begin at Collins & Main. Peoples Square should start going up by mid-summer. The main floor has been sold via a letter of intent and the developer is working on sales and leases for the upper two stories.

• Like dominoes, one redevelopment project spurs the next. With action anticipated on the Collins and Main property, interest in the former Iverson building should heighten. The building sits at the foot of Collins Avenue at 101 E Main. Visibility, appealing traffic counts, character and room to park 100-plus vehicles makes it a prime location for a casual dining enterprise.

• Mandan Mercantile committee explores redevelopment options. A committee, led by Bill Patrie of the Common Enterprise Development Corporation, is exploring the feasibility of establishing some different businesses and uses for the Iverson building. Although the building remains privately owned, the committee and spin-off groups are exploring a cooperative bakery, restaurant, Pride of Dakota distribution and retail center, and children’s museum. At the same time, the Bismarck Mandan Development Association and I continue to pitch location, along with other possibilities, to a variety of restaurants and retailers. Our efforts run parallel to one another and can only help in stirring interest in Mandan.

• Retail and restaurant rent subsidy program debuts. To increase critical mass in downtown Mandan and reduce business risks, a new incentive is being offered in 2010. The program provides matching funds for 12 months. The match is up to 50 percent of monthly rent not to exceed $3 per square foot for retail, or $5 per square foot for restaurants, with maximum assistance not to exceed $20,000 per property. Business applicants must meet several qualifying criteria. For more information, call 667-3485.

• Storefront Improvement matching funds continue. Twenty-four buildings in downtown Mandan have invested in exterior improvements since the program began in 2006. The downtown business district would benefit from more participation in the program in 2010. Applications are due by Feb. 1.

• Mandan Progress Organization working to launch two new events. If all goes well, expect an announcement at the MPO annual meeting to be held Jan. 27 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Seven Seas. All who are interested in helping Mandan thrive are encouraged to attend.

• Heritage Plaza concept gets a boost.  The Mandan Progress Organization recently was selected as a recipient of a N.D. Department of Tourism infrastructure and expansion grant of $10,000 for the Heritage Plaza project, which involves enhancements to the former railroad depot and beanery buildings and creation of a parking area behind Dykshoorn Park.

• Remediation nearing completion in some areas.  The system to clean-up the underground diesel fuel spill in downtown Mandan began operating in 2006-07. Monitoring wells show significant progress is being made. The N.D. Health Department will seek public input on a site close-out plan during an early February meeting. Time and place are still being determined.

• Third Street S.E. construction. Improvements are planned for this arterial from Veteran’s Memorial Ballpark to Highway 6.

• Memorial Highway corridor study continues. A second series of discussions is planned to gain further public input on the future of the 2-mile highway and land uses in the area. Memorial Highway is currently under state jurisdiction. Consultants will hold a design charrette to visually explore “what-if” options Feb. 3-4 and a public input meeting the evening of Feb. 4, all at Prairie West Golf Course Club House, 2709 Longspur Trail. Specifics on times will soon be available. For further information, visit www.MandanMemorialHighway.com.

• 2010 Census important for Mandan. Funding and eligibility for many government programs (a loss of approximately $1,000/year for each person not counted) depends on population and other demographics. By answering 10 questions in March, you can help improve schools, roads, medical services, job-training programs, public transportation and more. Retail site selectors also look closely community statistics including numbers of households, average per capita income, average household income and many other statistics. Please be sure you and your family are counted. Help make sure no one is left out.

• Committees have action plans to make Mandan Tomorrow happen. Four committees are working on implementation of Mandan’s new strategic vision plan. A report will be offered Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mandan Middle School on 2010 priorities, action plans, and ways to become involved.

More announcements of Mandan developments will be forthcoming in 2010 as private entities finalize plans. I look forward to continued improvement of Mandan in coming months. Happy New Year!