5 Moorhead projects make the cut for Gov. Walz's bonding proposal

A rendering of a proposed 11th Street North underpass in Moorhead. The city is seeking state and federal funding to begin the project. Submitted photo
A rendering of the proposed 11th Street North underpass in Moorhead. The city is seeking state and federal funding to begin the project. Special to The Forum

MOORHEAD — Moorhead has five projects included in Gov. Tim Walz's record $2 billion proposed bonding bill that Minnesota legislators will take up starting in February.

If funded and approved by lawmakers, Moorhead could be in line for as much as $90 million in state funding.

The biggest chunk would be for the 11th Street North downtown railroad underpass with an estimated cost by the Minnesota Department of Transportation of $62 million.

The project is expected to improve fire and police response times, eliminate wait times for drivers and give an economic boost to downtown development. It would piggyback on the massive 20th Street and Main Avenue underpass project that's fully funded and on track to be finished later this year.

The governor proposed $110 million in such grade separations at railroad crossings, and MnDOT spokesman Jake Loesch said Moorhead would likely receive a large portion of the money if it's approved. The city is also seeking a federal grant to help with the 11th Street North underpass.


The four other projects include a community and aquatics center, a Clay County garbage and recycling transfer station, flood-control funding and a renovation and addition to the Moorhead Army National Guard Armory.

Walz's plan would give the community and aquatics center $9.5 million for the project that the city has said could be coordinated with the renovation and expansion of Moorhead High School. The estimated $25 million project calls for a swimming pool, fitness facilities, locker rooms, child care center, spaces for teens and seniors, and multipurpose gathering space with a cafe.

As for the Clay County transfer station, County Solid Waste Director Kirk Rosenberger believes this could finally be the year the project receives funding to replace a structure that is about 45 years old with serious problems. He noted that funding requests have been ongoing for five years.

The new building that would be constructed at a new site near 15th Avenue and 34th Street in north Moorhead is "shovel ready," Rosenberger said, and a permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has already been secured.

Walz proposed setting aside $8.5 million for the $14.5 million project that would also include a facility to receive hazardous waste and electronics.

Rosenberger said the transfer station sorts garbage that is hauled to an incinerator in Perham, Minn., that powers industries. Recycling separation can also be done at the station.

Walz also proposed $20 million for flood-control projects, money that would be split between six cities, including Moorhead, and one watershed district.

The final Moorhead project in Walz's plan is $5.3 million for an addition and major renovation of the armory at 1000 15th Ave. N.


Moorhead Government Affairs Director Lisa Bode, who was "initially very encouraged" by the bonding proposal, said there will be an extensive lobbying effort by her, Mayor Johnathan Judd and three City Council members, along with a private firm hired to assist.

Republicans who control the state Senate have questioned the amount of the bonding proposal and could offer serious reductions.

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