City moves forward with downtown revitalization project
Following the announcement that Dickinson was the No. 1 most livable city of its size in the country, a ranking set by livability.com, Dickinson city officials moved forward with its downtown revitalization project.
At its regular meeting Monday at City Hall, the Dickinson City Commission unanimously approved an agreement between Dickinson Development Group and the city, pending contract negotiations by city staff. Commissioner Gene Jackson was not in attendance.
"There is no single thing you can do for the quality of the future sense of place and quality of place in Dickinson than to embark on a revitalization of downtown," said Gary Reddick of V3 Studio of Portland, Ore., one of the members of Dickinson Development Group. "That is just a fact."
The process began last fall when Reddick first presented to the commission after his work in Minot caught the eye of Commission President Dennis Johnson and City Administrator Shawn Kessel.
"You have an amazing -- albeit daunting -- time before you in terms of people moving here in unprecedented numbers unlike any place in the country," Reddick said. "And I understand the pressures that brings on money and budget and priority."
Downtown businesses and organizations have joined together to create a downtowners association and have been meeting regularly to discuss the city's plans for revitalization as well as downtown events, like summertime's Alive@5 on Thursday evenings.
"There are lots of individuals within the city of Dickinson who would be very interested in being a part of this committee -- a part of this association and also supporting all of the downtown efforts," said Josh Nichols, was representing the downtown association at the meeting.
The comprehensive plan calls for downtown revitalization, Johnson said.
"I would encourage your vision statement to state pretty explicitly what it is you hope the downtown to become, what you envision it being as opposed to just all of us working together," Johnson said to the downtowners. "I don't think what we ought to do here is have an association that has one vision of downtown and a development group that has another vision and our formal plan having a third vision. We want all this to be the same."
The city contracted Reddick and company for a 90-day period to create a development plan to recommend when and how each project should be carried out.
"When you get the first two or three buildings coming out of the ground and being occupied we will all be over the hump of getting revitalization started," Reddick said. "It's going to be hard work in the meantime."
The contract was presented for $50,000 plus expenses. It was approved giving city staff the authority to negotiate further.