Dickinson Prepares for Busy Construction Season

by Marisa DeCandido | May 14, 2014
Roers West Prepares for Busy Construction Season

This construction season is going to be a busy one in Dickinson. And at the rate the city is growing, that could become a trend. Dickinson is quickly expanding outside its former city limits. City officials say they're working on an annexation plan to add 5,000 acres west of the city in the coming years. But with all the growth comes the need for more building, and that's putting a strain on Dickinson's budget.

Dickinson keeps building, one brick at a time.

"Dickinson won't be the old Dickinson it was ten years ago," says Shane. 

This construction season will be one of the busiest in the city's history. There's new housing and retail, plus the city's 42 capital improvement projects.

"In 2014, we're still playing catch up to some degree, getting some of these major capital improvement projects in place. I think we'll get over the proverbial hump in 2014 and get more onto some manageable growth. This year is very busy, I see 2015 and beyond being a little more steady," says Craig.

This year is so busy that the city hired a consulting firm to serve as a public information officer. 
"They finally came to the conclusion that they needed to get information out, they needed to coordinate the information and coordinate the project managers and get information out to the public," says Deb.

That information is mostly about street closings and traffic delays.

"We've really implemented a lot of new processes to help move things along more smoothly and handle the growth that we're experiencing," says Loretta.

But the biggest problem in Dickinson is still housing. 

"In 2008 and 2009, I went back and looked and the city of Dickinson issued building permits for just under 200 dwelling units. That includes everything: single family homes, twin homes, town homes, apartments, everything. In 2012-2013, we issued 2,400," says Shawn.

But city officials say they don't want to build too many apartments and not enough single-family homes.

"We could see a population in Dickinson that exceeds 42,000 people by the year 2020," says Shawn.

And builders who are putting up both single and multi-family living spaces say they don't see the construction stopping anytime soon.

"They started behind the 8-ball, let's say, because it went so fast and they got a ton of projects going, and the city is going to be a construction nightmare for the next couple years. But that's what's gotta happen and honestly, Western North Dakota is all like that, it's crazy," says Shane.

Crazy because estimates show Dickinson will probably grow 6.4 percent a year until 2020.

The city's capital improvement projects will cost about $440 million, putting a lot of strain on the budget in the future. But officials say it's worth it to make the necessary improvements now and try to stay ahead of the curve.

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