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Heidi Shaffer, Published March 16 2010

Area projects fall victim to cuts

Two Moorhead projects fell victim on Monday to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s budget ax.

A library renovation project at Minnesota State University Moorhead and a plan to expand a soccer complex in Moorhead were both part of the nearly

$313 million trimmed from a public works bonding bill.

Pawlenty approved $680 million in spending after saying the original $1 billion price tag approved and sent to him by the Legislature was too high.

Of the programs cut, 17 were for college and university projects.

The $14.9 million renovation of MSUM’s Livingston Lord Library, as well as a smaller $550,000 update to the university’s planetarium, will now have to wait, said Jean Hollaar, interim vice president of finance and administration.

“It’s really disappointing,” she said. And given the current budget situation at MSUM, “this isn’t something we can do on our own.”

Hollaar said the university will work on what to do next and possibly try for funding again during the next bonding cycle in two years.

“Without getting this funding, it really puts us behind any campus renovating or building,” Hollaar said.

The city of Moorhead faces the same choice about what to do now that its expansion of the Northwestern Minnesota Regional Sports Center was vetoed for a second time, said City Manager Mike Redlinger.

Redlinger said the project would have brought several regional soccer tournaments to the city.

“It would have been a nice tournament venue, but we will have to evaluate options for the future,” Redlinger said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5552