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Letter: As Dickinson grows, it’s OK to be cautious

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I read The Dickinson Press article “thoughts from the editor” this past Sunday, written by Dustin Monke with great interest. I have watched the development of Dickinson and other communities in southwestern North Dakota the past six years with the oil industry impact. It is interesting to see how each of the community leaders and business people react to the fast-pace impacts.

One thing for sure is they want to grow as fast as they can to capitalize on the large profits they can make from the new people who move into our area. Prices of land, homes and commercial buildings rise to unbelievable amounts! Apartment, motel and home rents rise to nearly the highest in the nation. Prices of food, clothing and other retail products rise to the same level. Some people call this “greed” and some call this good business. 

The sad part of this situation is that the local people who have lived in these communities all their lives are faced with the same increase in these prices. Granted, some of these people did capitalize on these prices by selling land and other property. Some businesses have turned large profits. We also have to deal with poorer customer services and congested traffic conditions. But, the majority of the local people have to live with this change or leave!

Back to the proposed Barons Vista $300 million development in western Dickinson with the 15-story “lighthouse” tower. I agree with Dustin. This may be a little far-fetched for Dickinson as $300 million is a large sum of money for someone to invest without putting some high risk on the community. What is the idea of this 15-story tower? What purpose does it provide for the community?

The development of sewer, water, streets and other infrastructure for the new growth is also being shared by the new developers and the local existing citizens and businesses of each community. Is that fair for the local people who have lived here before the oil boom?

I leave you with this thought. 

My experience and study of the history of the oil industry is that when the drilling rigs leave, roughly 40 percent to 50 percent of the people leave with the rigs. My prayer is that that doesn’t happen for a few years or the local people of these communities will be left holding a large bag of vacant building and infrastructure.

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