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Dickinson 'roadmap' a nearly $600K plan

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news Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
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Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson are taking the final round of comments and preparing "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future" for approval by the Dickinson City Commission.

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The 400-page, two-part comprehensive and transportation plan will be available online in the next week and KLJ will be taking comments through Dec. 15, project manager Bob Shannon said Friday.

"We've done a lot of effort trying to make this the community's plan, not our plan," he said. "It's not what we think the community needs to do, or the direction they need go. Through our previous public input, they've told us where they want to go or what they want to see done and we've delivered a way to do that."

Dickinson City Commissioner Shirley Dukart has skimmed the 300-page comprehensive and 100-page transportation plans, but plans to sit down and read the whole thing before making any decision as a commissioner.

"I think our oil is here to stay," she said. "We need to keep moving forward. Dickinson's doing an awesome job."

With oil comes people and with people come traffic, and the plan addresses traffic flow issues the city is facing now and could face in the future.

"I like that plan the best of all," Dukart said. "Because we do have a traffic flow problem right now and we need to figure out how we're going to" address emergency situations, especially with only one route -- the Third Avenue underpass -- unblocked by train tracks but easily blocked by a flash flood.

While Dickinson 2035 is a plan for the next 22 years, it is not set in stone, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said.

"It will be a living, breathing document that will change over the course of time," he said.

The plan cost the city between $500,000 and $600,000, but part of that was deferred by a $350,000 North Dakota Department of Transportation grant, Kessel said.

"I know it's an expensive price tag," he said. "But the information that we've received and gleaned from this process has been just magnificent in helping us deal with the changes that are affecting us. When you look at $700 million in identified projects, I think a half-million dollar investment to make sure they go well is well worth the money."

Not only does the document incorporate the engineering expertise of KLJ, it includes the voice of the people.

"It's really important we hear from residents, this is their plan," Kessel said. "We've had several public input meetings and we certainly don't want to publish a document without incorporating as many comments as we can from them."

Shannon was pleased at the response received from Dickinson residents.

The city is not obligated to adopt the plan. When a comprehensive plan was prepared by a consultant for Burleigh County, the commission didn't adopt it, Shannon said.

"I have seen other jurisdictions where there's too much controversy or maybe there wasn't as much clear direction," he said.

The city will probably do a first reading in December, hold a public hearing at the commission level, and take second and final readings in January, Kessel said.

Adopting the plan does not commit the city to every suggestion and project, but it does mean that some of the submissions will become effective immediately, he said.

"There's certain overarching policies that we hope to implement and take advantage of," Kessel said. "But the specifics of how it will get implemented, there's a lot of demands that triggers it, such as population. The farther you go out in time, the more nebulant the projects become."

To view "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future," visit www.thedickinsonpress.com when the plans are released. They will also be available in print at the library.

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Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206
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