Residents rememberAfter a tornado devastated Dickinson’s south side nearly a year ago, citizens, city and state officials will commemorate the event with a Southside Survivors Appreciation Night on July 8, in conjunction with an Arbor Day celebration.
After a tornado devastated Dickinson’s south side nearly a year ago, citizens, city and state officials will commemorate the event with a Southside Survivors Appreciation Night on July 8, in conjunction with an Arbor Day celebration.
“It’s really meant to be an appreciation for all of the volunteers and all of the people that helped residents of the south side overcome, you know, the natural disaster,” said City Administrator Shawn Kessel.
Efforts of Dickinson’s Urban Forestry Committee, city officials and south side residents were coalesced and tentative commemoration events include tree planting, presentations, a dinner and street dance.
While logistics and times are still being discussed, events will kickoff with an afternoon of tree planting beginning at about 1 p.m., followed by presentations from Gov. John Hoeven, Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk of the North Dakota National Guard, and North Dakota Department of Emergency Services Director Greg Wilz, followed by a meal and street dance.
Kessel said there is discussion on finding a way to commemorate the exact time the tornado hit, perhaps with a balloon release.
Organizers will meet sometime this week to hammer out details.
DUFC President Bob Keogh said Arbor Day is July 10, but because south side residents wanted to hold a special event, Arbor Day has also been scheduled for July 8.
“We expect to spend about $7,000,” Keogh said.
The Dickinson City Commission voted Monday evening to provide $4,000 to the forestry committee to help with the effort.
DUFC also approached the community for donations and has sent out request letters in resident’s water bills.
Last year, the committee received about $2,000 in donations.
“We’re hoping for at least that much this year,” Keogh said.
Though it is unclear the exact number of trees that were lost, City Forester Justin Aufforth estimates it was several hundred.
“There were areas where it made a significant difference, that’s for sure,” Aufforth said.
With the help of volunteers, 90 trees will be planted, including Maple, Honey locust, Linden, Ohio buckeye, Aspen and Oak, Aufforth said.
“We’re trying to get as much diversity as we can,” Aufforth said. “For years they planted American elm because they’re such a great tree, then we got Dutch elm disease and it wipes all them out and then people planted green ash because it was such a great tree and now we have the emerald ash bore coming.”
Planting efforts will be concentrated south of the Heart River along frontage roads, according to the request.
One tree will be reserved as an “ornamental tree.”
“The current thought is that might be the one that we have our, I’ll call them dignitaries, all take a shovel and help us fill that hole and such,” Kessel said.
Arts on the Prairie has agreed to manage funds for Southside Survivors Appreciation Night. Donations can be sent to Arts on the Prairie at 615 West Broadway, Dickinson, ND 58601, but the memo line must specify “tornado.”
Those interested in volunteering can contact Rita Binstock at City Hall at 701-456-7744.
Forestry committee donations can be sent to City Hall at 99 2nd St. E, Dickinson, ND 58601.