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Editorial: South Heart on right track

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editorials Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

There is a lot going on in South Heart and city leaders seem to be holding their ground.

A proposal for 25 12-unit apartment buildings on an 18-acre tract of land east of Adamski Park came to light less than a month ago. And a Denver developer brought the vision of an RV park, assisted living center, restaurant, convenience store and two hotels to the council Monday.

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If plans pan out for him, these structures will be built within the next four years.

The overall feel from the leaders is interest, but they want to make sure utilities -- particularly water resources -- are available to support such massive initiatives.

Good call.

Mayor Floyd Hurt said more lagoon space and additional water towers are needed. These must be a priority before giving the go ahead.

Though Hurt, like many residents, is concerned about eyesores, he gets it: "It's no more than fair to let you (have RVs) for your workers because you got to have a place and there's no place to put them."

Long-time residents may have reservations, but we can't stop developers from scouting the area and making proposals. Many city leaders have held their posts for decades and some are in no way willing to budge on allowing development. We ask they keep an open mind.

"Hey, it's a horrible problem this lack of housing, but don't put trailers or man camps in my backyard," seems to be a common theme.

There are some residents taking in newcomers and allowing trailers in their yards (which may be against code in many area towns), but the people not going "home" to a car to sleep in every night are probably forever grateful to you.

As hard as it may be to take on the change, we can't stop looking for places to put people and finding infrastructure to support them.

South Heart is not alone in its willingness to work with, and not shun, developers. It's been said before, but Dunn County deserves recognition for allowing man camps, particularly a 600-person facility that just opened Thursday. That's 600 less to shove into an overcrowded house or trailer, and the facility provides recreational accommodations, which means 600 people won't be hitting the road nightly to find something to do. About 300 rooms are ready and open now.

During a Thursday ribbon-cutting ceremony, the camp's regional vice president said "We had every room sold before we even opened the door."

Dunn County Commission Chairman Glenn Eckleberg was also at the ceremony and mentioned people sleeping in cars and trucks. "What a welcome sight," he said of the camp.

While North Dakota property values are creeping up, up and away, people are cringing at the thought of selling their houses in most states. Out-of-staters are taking tens and sometimes hundreds-of-thousands of dollars hits to sell their properties.

Then there are people from all over the country and world coming here to work. Here!

The Obama administration on Thursday sent a press release to newspapers across the country to announce a $15 million multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in distressed rural communities.

This initiative is an effort to strengthen the economy, create jobs and support business, particularly expanding opportunity for rural Americans.

Hundreds of corporations have eyed our rural area to make a buck, which in turn spurs job creation.

What the administration is titling "We Can't Wait" is a fitting name for western North Dakota, but in a different light. Not that this area can't wait for jobs, but it can't wait for infrastructure to support these jobs, and places for people to lay their heads who are filling these jobs.

Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on

the Editorial Board.

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