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BISMARCK, N.D. --In a 5-0 vote, the Bismarck City Commission on Tuesday accepted the final Bismarck Downtown Sub-Area Study report. However, no action was taken to fund any of the projects recommended.

Commissioner Josh Askvig explained that the vote meant that commissioners accepted the report, but did not adopt it.

Representatives from Crandall Arambula, a consulting firm, said if the city and private partners invest in the projects, it could generate $318 million in other commercial investment downtown. They recommended the projects be done within five years.

Projects proposed are an underpass walkway at Fifth Street linking Main Avenue to Kirkwood Mall, removing one lane of traffic on Main Avenue to widen sidewalks and a public plaza. The plan suggests two new parking ramps be added and a convention hotel.

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Ruth Meiers appeal

Bismarck City Administrator Bill Wocken said Wednesday that a zoning appeal hearing on the Baptist Home will be held Jan. 14. The Ruth Meiers Hospitality House, its new owner, wants it rezoned to allow a food pantry, soup kitchen, clinic and other public services to be offered there.

Residents near the home said they don’t want dangerous transients lingering around their neighborhoods because public services would attract them. Ruth Meiers officials can still offer affordable housing with existing zoning. Planning staff also will mail notices about the hearing to neighbors of the property. Kim Lee, planning manager for Bismarck Community Development, said they are sending hearing notices to Baptist home neighbors by using property tax addresses.

Dispatch system

The Bismarck City Commission on Tuesday also approved a proposal to have the fire department and ambulance services in Mandan use a dispatch system run by Bismarck and Burleigh County. The Mandan City Commission and Burleigh County Commission also have approved the plan. The Morton County Commission tabled its decision until a Dec. 30 meeting.

The Computer-Aided Dispatch system is used for dispatching, monitoring and recording emergency and non-emergency calls. Mandan Fire Chief Steve Nardello wants the system now that Mandan Fire Hall No. 2 will be regularly staffed. He said it will help determine which fire hall responds and which equipment is used during a fire call.

Green space

The Mandan City Commission also approved a new park building permit fee schedule on Tuesday. The park portion of the fees have been increased so the park district can buy more land for parks. Park building permit fees have been $100 since the early 1980s for any type of building project. Fees will be raised to $250 for each multi-family apartment building, $500 for each single family home and $1,000 for each commercial development. The Mandan Park Board voted Dec. 9 to support the higher fees.

Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or