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SCDRC board discusses Bush foundation grant

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South Central Dakota Regional Council staff will research over the next two months how it can help its members adopt a building code in their communities.

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The SCDRC Executive Board discussed Wednesday how the council could meet this goal. SCDRC received a $121,500 grant from the Bush Foundation Innovation program that will be used to fund research and gather community input on implementing a building code in communities throughout the council’s nine-county region.

Deb Kantrud, SDRC executive director, said she will meet with Joe Larson, SCDRC’s attorney, and officials with the North Dakota Department of Commerce to determine what protections the regional council should have in place if it decides to move forward with establishing a building code for its member communities.

Kantrud said one of the requirements for the Bush Foundation Innovation grant program is the entity receiving the grant has to go out at the grassroots level to determine what people want.

“We’ve identified a need for building inspections, and we’ve had people contact us from communities throughout our region who read about the grant award and are interested in have a building code (in their communities),” she said.

Jamestown and Valley City both have a full-time building inspector, while Oakes and Ellendale have a part-time building inspector. Most communities included in the nine-county region the SCDRC serves do not have a building code.

Kantrud said if the information gathering goes well, the SCDRC could have a pilot program ready to run in one of its communities by the end of this year, but it is more likely to happen sometime by mid-2015.

“We have a lot of educating to do, for ourselves and our communities,” she said.

Gary White, Dickey County Commission representative on SCDRC, said he is not sure counties and cities within the regional council area will be quick to embrace having a building code.

“In residential construction, it’s tough to schedule contractors, and making them wait for an inspection, that will be tougher,” he said.

Joe Neis, SCDRC Executive Board president, said determining how much the communities want a building code and building inspections is all part of the process.

“I think it would be a good thing. There is a lot of building going on out here in the rural areas with very little oversight,” he said.

Kantrud said the immediate challenge is getting the legal information together.

In other business, the SCDRC Executive Board approved rescheduling its next meeting to 10 a.m. Sept. 24. It also rescheduled the next quarterly meeting of the SCDRC Board of Directors to Oct. 22. The location for both meetings will be determined at a later date.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at colson@jamestownsun.com

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Chris Olson
Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University
(701) 952-8454
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