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City presents 2014 construction projects

Once the ground thaws, Dickinson will be under construction.

City staff presented several water, sewer, road and subdivision projects to the Dickinson City Commission at its regular meeting at City Hall that will break ground or continue in 2014.

These include the State Avenue overpass, water and sewer mains on the city’s west side, continued construction in West Ridge — the commercial and residential development where Menards is located — and continuation of the truck bypass route linking Interstate 94 to North Dakota Highway 22 from the west to the north.

“Some of them have final plat approval, some of them are just coming with sketch plats,” City Engineer Craig Kubas said of subdivision projects. “But I would say it’s safe to say that most of them have some build out planned in 2014.”

In addition to the city and state’s projects, there will be chip coating, and mill and overlay projects on major roads and Midcontinent Communications will be placing its infrastructure in the city, Kubas said.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Kubas said. “We hope to get as much of it done as we can in 2014, understanding that some of this might be pushed into 2015. We have a really, really aggressive year.”

Showing the city’s project load could help tip funding and financing in the city’s favor, Commission President Dennis Johnson said.

“I think we could take this presentation, along with maybe some good handouts regarding the financing, use it with key legislators, use it with the executive branch,” Johnson said. “It really tells a great story.”

City creates additional liquor license

The commission approved a resolution to begin the process of creating another on-sale/off-sale liquor license within the city limits.

The process was initiated in response to Spartan Nash’s request to build a liquor store on the premise of its planned grocery store — the third Econofoods in Dickinson — in the West Ridge development.

The last license was created in 2012 in response to Coborn’s Inc., the parent company of Cash Wise Foods and Cash Wise Liquors, for their liquor store in the Dickinson Hills Shopping Center. Both developments are west of 30th Avenue West.

The commission unanimously approved the creation of the liquor license.

City staff used water, sewer and landfill numbers to calculate population and estimated that Dickinson had approximately 24,000 residents — 3,000 more than is needed to create the additional license, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said.

Bidding for the 18th on-sale/off-sale liquor license, the kind needed to run a bar (on-sale) or liquor store (off-sale) until March 28, City Attorney Matt Kolling said.

Those interested will submit bids to the city to be opened March 28 at an auction, with the highest bid taking the license. The license will not be approved without the required background checks.

Bidding will begin at $185,000.

Because the price of an on-sale/off-sale liquor license is so high in Dickinson, Kessel was worried that businesses wanting such a license would set up shop immediately outside city limits with a $1,000 liquor license, and then request annexation.

“Our ordinance requires us to recognize that county-issued liquor license as a city-issued license upon annexation,” Kessel said.

A similar incident happened when the Queen City Club was annexed into Dickinson, Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said. The license was purchased with the business in 2009 when The Evil Olive pizzeria opened in the same space.

“I think we would want to make the transition more clear, more concrete moving forward so the system isn’t gamed to by a $1,000 liquor license and convert it to a $185,000 liquor license,” Oltmanns said.

No action was taken, but commissioners agreed to discuss official policy at the next meeting.