Millions and millions: From Richardton to South Heart to Dickinson, growth is rapid and expensive
The greater Dickinson area is a busy place.
Need more proof beyond the bustling traffic, tight housing market and booming population growth?
Look no further than the recently-released 50-item Stark Development Corp. list of major public projects, a quick, informal glance at what's going up in Dickinson's backyard.
The list includes a mix of projects that are completed, under construction, and still in the planning or approval stages.
There are 28 projects listed as exceeding $10 million and 17 estimated as costing more than
Five projects on the tentative list are labeled by the SDC as endeavors which are expected to cost more than $100 million, such as the St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center complex (under construction) and a proposed coal mining and electric power station facility near South Heart.
"Some of the items on this list may not come to fruition -- nothing is ever final until a project is finished," said SDC Executive Vice President Gaylon Baker. "But all of these projects have been talked about. Obviously, with winter on its way, there won't be quite as much construction when the ground freezes. That's just a fact of life, but there is plenty of progress if you look around."
One area that Baker highlighted was immediately north of Dickinson, where the "5 Diamond" and "County Line" industrial parks, along with other infrastructure projects, are being constructed.
"There's a lot of economic activity around here and there will continue to be a lot of activity in the foreseeable future," Baker said. "We have a lot of things going on. We're going to continue to grow here for a number of years."
Halliburton is building a $10 million-plus facility next to the already finished Baker Hughes compound north of town and a few miles up Highway 22 in southern Dunn County. Cruz Energy and Target Logistics are two of a handful of companies putting up industrial and office buildings.
"Just in our immediate area, there's probably more than $10 million of projects right now," Cruz CEO Jeff Miller said. "There is a lot of activity as you head north out of Dickinson and continue up the road."
Though on a much smaller scale than its neighbor to the east, South Heart also has a lot going on. The growing community has two subdivisions going up and could have a motel and travel center on the northern edge of town by next summer.
"It's a busy time around here," said South Heart Mayor Floyd Hurt. "We also have blueprints right now for a 200,000-gallon drinking water tank and we've had discussions with Dickinson about linking our sewer systems to increase our capacity. Those things are still being looked at."
While it's impossible to escape the fact that most of the development is energy boom-related, Baker said it's always important to keep diversity in mind.
"That's why projects like the Theodore Roosevelt Center are so important," Baker said of the university's Roosevelt-themed information center. "That's a destination that, I think, will get people to stop off the interstate and see. It's a great cultural asset and improves the quality of life here."
From a proposed hydraulic fracturing proppant facility in Richardton to a water treatment plant for the city of Dickinson, Baker said there's no question that development in the area is continuing at a rapid rate.