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Our View: Ready or not, here comes 2014

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The best way to describe the year 2013 would be “whew.” Dickinson is nowhere near the tranquil little western town it was and this year it grew at an even greater break-force speed. Increased population leads to, of course, more traffic. The city never seems to sleep when it once did.

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Taxis, unheard of a few years ago, scurry about Dickinson at all hours. Delta and United’s new jet service has resulted in improved and reliable service, and new record airport boardings. Everywhere you look new apartments, homes and businesses are springing up all around us. Countless existing businesses have expanded, rebuilt or added a new location. There are more dining and lodging options than ever before. The only things that seem to be growing faster than western North Dakota are the state’s taxable sales, budget surplus and rainy day funds.

Before you think of catching your breath, consider that all things point to an even busier 2014. This time next year, our city will look even more different. New and improved roads will improve or add to the traffic, depending on how it affects you.

Menards will open soon, two new grocery stores are planned, along with the new movie theatre and a host of other retail stores. St Joseph’s new clinic and hospital will be finished along with the Sanford Health Clinic. Those, along with the expansion at the West River Community Center, will give residents plenty of options to stay healthy.

The city will finish a new public works building, waste water treatment plant and a public safety center will begin taking shape in 2014. The nation’s first refinery in 35 years is being built between Dickinson and South Heart.

Oil production has surpassed the 1 million barrels a day and growing. Anywhere else, any of these developments would be the local story of the year, if not decade, but in Dickinson they have become commonplace.

The answer to how long the boom will last depends on to who you talk to.

There are some who think energy developments in Texas, OPEC’s increased production, and production costs and taxes could signal the end to the Bakken oil boom. The oil and natural gas industry describes the Bakken as a world class oil development and predicts that North Dakota production will double to 2 million barrels a day by 2017. Goldman Sachs published a report last month and predicts the growth will last at least another 10 years and others say even longer.

There are a lot of smart people investing a lot of money by banking on sustained growth including the city of Dickinson. No matter the outcome, the one thing we at The Press can predict is western North Dakota can count on the next year being another interesting one, no matter how bumpy the ride.

The Dickinson Press Editorial Board consists of Publisher Harvey Brock, Managing Editor Dustin Monke and News Editor Klark Byrd.

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