Editorial: Man camp may be solution for Dickinson housing crunchThe edge of town is a workable place for a much-needed 600-person man camp being proposed.
The edge of town is a workable place for a much-needed 600-person man camp being proposed.
The approximate 64-acre site would include places for oilfield workers to lay their heads, a recreation area, dining facility and smoking area.
Target Logistics has built man camps near Williston and appears to know what it is doing. The company has prepared a comprehensive plan for the Dickinson facility, located northwest of 21st Street West and State Avenue. The company also has a reclamation plan for if or when the man camp is no longer needed.
Take a tour of other areas around North Dakota to see how these man camps take away a bit of the scar that other fast-rolling development has on the landscape — the cluster of RVs and campers scattered in any corner of the city, from fields to parking lots and backyards.
This is a tough one and it is likely to cause concern among citizens. However, think of the concern hundreds of those coming to southwest North Dakota for employment must have when they contemplate where they will live through what are well-known bone-chilling winters. Check out the parking lots around town and you will see plates from Florida to Texas — likely newcomers who are not used to below-zero temps.
It’s clear, workers outnumber beds.
Many married people would also like to bring their families here, but how can they? Many single people who may not want to pay so much for renting alone are eating up available housing. A man camp will ease the strain and maybe Dad will be able to bring Mom and the children to be a part of the community.
Many of those coming to the area have sat, living off government unemployment checks and food stamps, and are taking the initiative to move away for gainful employment. This needs to be encouraged as unemployment elsewhere across the country is at all-time highs.
Belfield approved a 15-person camp earlier this week. Though the Dickinson facility is on a much larger scale, southwest North Dakota communities that have prepared, or are beginning to consider, what to do if a request for temporary housing comes in, are on the right track. Boasts about the amount of oil under this area only show the intensity from black gold is going to get deeper and deeper. North Dakota is already the nation’s No. 4 oil producer in the country.
Dickinson wants to know what the community thinks.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has set a hearing for 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday at City Hall, 99 Second St. E. Anyone can attend to learn more about the project, share concerns or show support. Now is the time to speak up and there is no room for complaints when all is said and done.
If the area wants to continue experiencing the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the highest wages and live through a boom that will go down in the history books, then we need people and those people need places to live.
Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride sit on the Editorial Board.