For Mandan Major Ken Lamont, Tuesday was an emotional day, he said.
“We’re seeing the beginning of where we want Mandan to go,” he said.
LaMont was speaking at the dedication of Library Square, a $5 million, four-story apartment building for those 55 and older at 100 First St. N.W. in Mandan, one block off Main Street on Collins Avenue.
The project is named for the building next door, the former Mandan Public Library building, which was formerly the Mandan Post Office.
Library Square, with 46 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and public and common rooms on the ground floor, was designed with architectural details to blend with the character of the former library building.
The library is now housed in the renovated former freight house on Mandan’s Main Street, next to Burlington Northern Park and the Mandan Depot.
LaMont called Library Square “a vision for the community.”
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “Mandan is in the early stages of a major transition that’s going to bring life downtown.”
Paul Rechlin, executive director of Lewis and Clark Community Works, called Library Square “one of the best things to happen to downtown in a long time.”
Along with Rechlin and LaMont, present at the dedication were Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Gary Stenson, president of MetroPlains Development, Shirley Dykshoorn, director of the Fannie Mae North Dakota Partnership Office, and others representing a dozen different collaborating agencies, businesses and nonprofits that raised the $5 million.
Dorgan said he guessed many of the older resident’s parents had homesteaded in North Dakota, and he compared this move to a new type of homesteading, “an investment in downtown.”
The apartment complex is already more than half filled – 30 units of 46, Dorgan.
Older people filed in and out of the building during and after the dedication ceremonies, checking out the main floor public spaces and apartments already occupied by hospitable tenants.
Rental costs vary, but the average monthly cost is $440 for a one-bedroom apartment and $530 for a two-bedroom. Managing the facility is Garsten-Perennial Management Corporation.