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Grand Forks city council mulls running Alerus Center as city department

GRAND FORKS -- Some Grand Forks City Council members are mulling whether it ought to just take over the Alerus Center and run the building as if it were any other city department.

The council's finance committee met Wednesday to talk about the city-owned events center and decided to form a task force that would take a fresh look at all aspects of the center's operations. One question it would answer is should the council disband the commission that now runs the building?

The idea is Council member Mike McNamara's, but only he openly advocates it so far. Several council members stated that they don't think the council should get into that business. The idea of taking a new look, though, has broad support.

Council member Curt Kreun, who chairs the commission, said the landscape has changed since the building was envisioned back in the late 1990s. There's a Ralph Engelstad Arena at UND, for example, he said, so the Alerus Center never got a chance to host hockey. It's adapted by strengthening its convention business, he said.

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