MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — On Monday, residents of Tioga held a meeting regarding a controversial new project in their community — where neighbors had a chance to voice their concerns about a new multi-million dollar project coming to the city.

The city’s commissioners state that they want to put $16 million worth of funding into tripling the size of their community center — and previously passed a bond issue of $10 million to Tioga commissioners passed a bond issue of $10M to go towards building new basketball and racquetball courts, expanding the library, and several other upgrades and renovations (the other $6M is coming from the city’s oil and gas revenue).

Commissioners in support of the changes say investing in the community center would be one of the most beneficial things for the city’s families and could bring more people to Tioga. However, many city residents have been in opposition to this project for years — many of whom have raised concerns about the low public approval for the project, the lack of transparency of the designs, and especially its massive price tag. Residents have even gone as far as to create a petition against the expansion, getting more than 250 signatures in opposition in the process.

Those against the project worry that the $10M loan against future gas and oil revenue is risky with the state of the economy right now — but attorney Liz Pendlay says that the commission ultimately has the final say on what will become of the project.

“It’s America,” she states, “and people are entitled to disagree or agree, or form opinions somewhere in the middle on any topic that amounts to public business. In my work with the commission, I’ve known them to be diligent, and highly aware of public sediment. And I’ve known them always to vote their conscience, and act in the interest of the public.”

The Commission voted to continue with the project. But a special election will be held for people to vote on the $10M bond issue. This special election will happen before February.