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Associated Press, Published June 26 2012

UPDATED: Minot releases plan for using federal flood grants

MINOT, N.D. — The city of Minot released a proposal Tuesday for using nearly $68 million in federal disaster recovery grant money to help recover from last summer's devastating Souris River flooding.

The grant is from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which requires the majority of project activities benefit low- to moderate-income people and families. It also bars the city from giving cash payments directly to residents.

“The City is grateful for the opportunity to propose projects we feel will continue to assist Minot in reaching our many long-term recovery goals,” City Finance Director Cindy Hemphill said in a statement Tuesday. “At the same time we have to follow very specific guidelines and rules ... this is not a blank check that we can write to the residents of the city to make anyone whole.”

Minot's plan includes such measures as repairing downtown infrastructure, developing housing and buying or helping reconstruct or rehabilitate flooded properties.

A public hearing on the proposal is planned Thursday night at City Hall. The city is required to take public comments and then submit a plan to HUD no later than July 23.

The flooding last summer affected more than 4,000 homes and businesses, destroyed two schools and forced 12,000 people to evacuate North Dakota's fourth-largest city. Damage was estimated at more than $1 billion.

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