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City hires PIO for construction seasons: DLN Consulting to publicize slow and blocked routes in city

Dickinson is expected to be one big construction zone this summer.

In an effort to keep the public informed, the Dickinson City Commission unanimously approved a contract for DLN Consulting to serve as a public information officer for construction projects for the next two seasons.

“This summer is going to be — the majority of those projects are going to be under construction, some of them already are and others will take place throughout the year,” City Administrator Shawn Kessel said.

Road, sewer and water projects are expected to make travel difficult through the construction season, and the city hopes to keep citizens informed about slow and blocked roads as it completes its capital improvement plan.

“It is our goal to hire, through a contract, a public information officer to collect the information about when projects are going to occur, how they’re going to affect the traveling public primarily, and then disperse that information in a timely manner so then residents can choose maybe a different path, so that they can be aware of when those projects in advance of them happening so they can alter their travel routes,” Kessel said.

The contract will last for two years because many projects may take two construction seasons to complete, Kessel said. The contract is budgeted for $160,000, but is paid hourly, so it could vary from that amount.

“I think that the citizens are definitely going to benefit from this” Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said. “Each meeting, we talk about more and more and more projects, and each time we approve a project it ultimately means some limited disruption in different areas of our community. It’s going to be great to have one resource where we can get that information disseminated.”

While DLN will be coordinating the message, city staff will be delivering it when it’s in the form of a TV or radio spot, Kessel said.

“The more we can advertise this, the better,” Commissioner Shirley Dukart said. “I hear that from the public all the time, ‘We didn’t know.’ I’m impressed with all the different media you’re using.”

In other business:

V The commission welcomed its new library director, Rita Ennen, who previously worked for Dickinson State University.

V The commission unanimously approved two job descriptions. One for a new position of deputy city administrator, which replaces and incorporates the finance director position, the other for the city attorney, a position held by Matt Kolling.

V The West River Community Center will host a Dickinson Police officer. The officer posted at the community center will be in charge of community events such as the National Night Out.

V The city’s 18th liquor license will go to Spartan Nash for a liquor store within its grocery store, pending city approval of its application, Kessel said. Spartan Nash beat out Kum and Go and The Hub convenience stores for the license with a bid of $446,000. That money goes into the city’s general fund.