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City approves plan for next 22 years

It took nearly two years and hours and hours of meetings, but Dickinson has a comprehensive plan.

After a few revisions, the Dickinson City Commission unanimously approved "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future," to guide city decisions for the next 22 years at its regular meeting on Monday at City Hall in Dickinson.

"The city is very happy with the comp plan," Community Development Director Ed Courton said. "It's been a year and a half, it's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears and the community should be very proud of what we have. It's definitely a community-based plan."

The plan was written by KLJ with data collected over several public input meetings as well as analysis of growth trends over the past few years.

"I'd like to thank the citizens and the Commission and everyone that helped make this plan fit Dickinson," said Bob Shannon, project leader from KLJ. "It's great to see the amount of public participation that we had. People really care about their community and the direction of the future."

As drafts became available, the city started to take the recommendations under advisement, Commission President Dennis Johnson said.

"It isn't as if nothing has happened until today," he said.

West River Community Center

The Commission decided to begin the process to finance the West River Community Center and Dickinson Recreation Center whether the Dickinson Parks and Recreation Department decided to take five, seven or 10 years to repay.

The project is estimated to cost $22.3 million, and the city expects to finance $15.3 million of that, Johnson said. The city would use sales tax funds to pay back the financed amount.

"We deserve this -- the people that are staying here and putting our roots down and raising our family," Commissioner Carson Steiner said. "It's great when we get the tourism in, but really it's taking care of us people that are here in Dickinson."

There will be public hearings at subsequent commission meetings to obtain the public's opinion on the matter.

Sunrise Youth Bureau

Sunrise Youth Center -- which works with area law enforcement to keep juveniles out of the court system -- has a tight budget to work with, Director Jerry Mayer said. Its revenue of more than $220,000 just met its expenditures of less than $210,000.

The program that gets the most use -- attendant care -- is also the most expensive, he said. Police can bring youth that have either run away or are causing issues at home to stay at the center at any time, day or night, weekends included.

"The purpose of the housing is to find them a safe place to stay until we figure out what to do with them, basically," Mayer said. "Whether that be return them home or whether that would keep them there until we can find a place for them outside the home."

The center also teaches classes throughout western North Dakota, runs a diversion program to keep minors out of court and accommodates students who are suspended from school.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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