- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A committee said Wednesday that it has raised enough money so that construction can begin on a new North Dakota governor’s mansion.

Friends of the Governor’s Residence Committee co-chairman Jim Poolman said more than $500,000 has been donated or pledged toward the construction of a new governor’s residence.

The Legislature in April approved construction of a new $5 million governor’s home, stipulating that $1 million of its cost must be funded by private donations, and that construction cannot begin until at least 10 percent has been raised from private sources.

Lawmakers defeated measures in the prior two sessions for a new governor’s home but finally agreed after requiring that a percentage of the funding come from private sources as a way to gauge public interest.

Poolman called Wednesday’s announcement a “major milestone.” He said contributions have ranged from about $25 to $100,000.

“Every dollar counts,” Poolman said.

The current 10,000-square-foot residence, which would be razed, was completed in 1960 and would need more than $2.8 million in repairs. Lawmakers have been attempting to replace the dwelling for years, saying it is has security issues, isn’t handicap-accessible, and likely contains lead paint and asbestos. The roof also leaks, despite a major renovation that was completed in 2000.

The new mansion would be built just north of where the current one stands on the Capitol grounds. Officials said it will be built of limestone, granite and brick and is intended to last 100 years.

Revenue from four oil wells in a fund reserved solely for improvements to the Capitol grounds will be used for the state’s share of the cost. Construction is planned to begin next year, with completion by Thanksgiving 2017.

Poolman, a former Republican legislator and state insurance commissioner from Bismarck, and Democratic Rep. Pamela Anderson, a retired banker from Fargo, are heading the fundraising committee. The group began raising money in September.

Anderson said the group hopes to have the entire $1 million needed for the private share of the home raised by spring.

GOP Gov. Jack Dalrymple is the state’s eighth chief executive to reside in the current dwelling. He is not running for re-election.

The home is the second official governor’s residence. The original Governor’s Mansion, built in 1884, is a few blocks south of the Capitol.


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