West River Community Center to reopen Friday, but not fully
The West River Community Center will reopen Friday morning, but some parts of the building will remain under construction into May, Dickinson Parks and Recreation officials said Monday at a regular city Park Board meeting.
While the weight room, cardio and group fitness areas will be complete, the basketball courts and the new walking track will not be open until April 28, at the earliest. The original one-ninth of a mile walking track will reopen Friday with the new one-quarter of a mile track set to open in early May after construction in the new basketball court area is finished.
“We plan to be as ready as we possibly can,” Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer said.
The center closed April 10 so crews from Mortenson Construction and other subcontractors could finish as construction. Crews worked Monday on preparing the new cardio and weight room areas while sanders went up and down the basketball courts.
Mortenson Construction Senior Project Manager Pat Barnett expressed disappointment that the entire facility won’t be ready to use Friday, but was excited about the work that is being done.
“When we do open it up, people will certainly forget about the two-week delay we’re going to have to go through here,” he said.
Matt Mack, facility operations manager, said three semi truck loads full of new workout equipment will arrive at the center on Wednesday.
“Hopefully the public understands what you’re doing in a week,” Park Board President Carol Herauf said.
The Verizon cell tower that has been proposed to be erected near the West River Community Center was open to public hearing, though few people attended to comment.
Kramer revealed plans that would move the tower away from the space originally planned near the West River Ice Arena to a spot next to the skate park because of a “fair amount” of negative responses from the public.
The tower, Kramer said, wouldn’t be as noticeable as a normal cell tower because it would be disguised as a 90-foot flagpole that would have an American flag flying 24/7.
Daniel Dean, a Verizon representative, said the company has several “stealth flagpoles.”
“You wouldn’t know that they were actual cell sites,” he said. “We can design it however you want it to look like.”
The area where the tower would be built would also include a restroom for the skate park and nearby soccer fields.
Officer to have a spot at WRCC
The board approved a motion to station an Dickinson Police Department officer inside the West River Community Center, which Chief Dustin Dassinger said should help deter crimes that take place in the facility such as thefts in locker rooms.
“We’re looking for a space that would be visible to the public,” Dassinger said.
Kramer said a small office near the facility’s control desk has been chosen as a good spot where an officer would be visible to the public. He added that it would be a good idea to have an officer at the community center periodically.
“We think it’s definitely workable on our end,” Kramer said.
Softball, golf rec leagues full
Ryan Nelson, Dickinson Parks and Recreation’s recreation and facilities manager, said that both the adult softball and golf leagues are full. The men’s golf league filled up in 15 minutes last Wednesday, he added.
Kramer said that because the influx of population has created a need for more recreational opportunities, he has started initial conversations with the city about the possibility of obtaining land north of Gress Softball Complex — part of the old wastewater treatment plant — for three additional softball diamonds.
“That would tremendously help us if we could grow our complex down there,” Kramer said. “These are issues we’ll have to keep our eye on and continue to discuss so we can stay ahead of the population increase.”