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Bowman bouncing with new activities

The Edge - Bowman County Activity Complex will house a trampoline park.

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Construction on an activities complex that includes a trampoline park is underway in Bowman.
Contributed / Chanell Walby
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BOWMAN, N.D. — Thrill seekers can soon embrace their inner kangaroo, as construction of a trampoline park is nearing completion. The Edge: Bowman County Activity Complex is expected to open in February, Parks and Recreation Director Chanell Walby said.

The trampoline park will include a dodgeball court, parkour course and a climbing wall with an airbag cushion to land on. Younger children can enjoy the indoor playground which will also be available in the complex, while their older siblings can take advantage of the e-sports lounge.

“It's a safe place for kids to go up there and have a Madden or Fortnite tournament, or whatever they want to do. But it's under a safe roof and a safe place to be,” Bowman Parks and Recreation Board President Chris Johnson said. “So we'll have some modular furniture and coaches up there and nice TVs on the walls. They bring their Xbox in, they can plug into our TV and hang out all day and hang out with their buddies up there.”

The complex will be packed with plenty more, including exercise studios, a racquetball court, pickleball court and a weight room. There is also a kitchen and concession area, along with a party and meeting room. A walking track borders the perimeter of the building, Walby said.

“I can see it kind of being a birthday party central place for kids,” Walby said. “And I can see the seniors coming and walking in the mornings, sitting down, having a coffee and maybe playing cards; so kind of a social place for them to gather.”

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racquetball
The Edge - Bowman County Activity Complex has a racquetball court, among other features.
Contributed / Chanell Walby

Johnson added the facility will have activities for people of all walks of life.

“You can be a baby all the way up to 99 years old and find some way to use this facility,” he said. “You can be athletic or non-athletic and use this facility. So it kind of covers and fits the needs of anybody in the community.”

The project began about three years ago with a desire to expand Bowman’s Rouzie Recreation Center.

“We had hired an architect to add on to the Rouzie Rec Center, which has a gym, a cardio room, a weight room and an outdoor pool and locker rooms,” Walby said. “We were going to add on activity space and a concession kitchen area and a party meeting room.”

The initial idea was to add 5,000 to 6,000 sq ft to the building for about $1.7 million. However, Walby said the park board instead decided to purchase a building that was formerly Shopko for $900,000.

“We got 20,000 additional square feet by purchasing the Shopko building,” Walby said. “We thought that we could do some renovations, from our estimating, for about $600,000… So we got a lot more bang for our buck.”

The extra room allowed the park board to be creative with what they turned the project into, Walby said.

“This board is kind of forward thinking,” Walby said. “We came up with a design and they decided we should put a trampoline park in here.”

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Funding for the project comes largely from a 1% sales tax the city of Bowman passed for capital improvements and maintenance in 2018, she said.

“We took out a $1.7 million bond that we're using the 1% sales tax to help pay back and also the city committed $50,000 a year for the next seven years because we have a seven year bond,” Walby said.

The Bowman County Commission also allocated $300,000 for construction costs, she added.

“We tried to make this a one-size-fits-all project so it would benefit everybody,” Johnson said. “Especially when you're working with taxpayer money and working with people's money like that, you’ve got to try and make sure, at least try, to make it benefit everybody.”

The Park Board also did a sponsorship program which allowed organizations to purchase different parts of the Edge, which brought in about $157,000, she said.

“We've actually been getting a lot of community support for it through sponsorships, so we're pretty confident that we'll be able to get it all done within our means,” Walby said.

Walby and Johnson expect the facility to bring in people from neighboring communities.

“We wanted to kind of do some things that hadn't been done before,” Walby said. “We want it to be a multi-generational community building that's not just going to draw in Bowman, but also maybe a 100-mile radius because the closest trampoline parks are Bismarck and Rapid City. So we're pretty excited about that.”

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Johnson added that a lot of people are working hard to finish construction and open the complex as soon as possible.

“My kids are working, I'm working. We're all just trying to make this happen,” Johnson said.

The Edge
Pictured is the overall design of The Edge - Bowman County Activity Complex.
Contributed / Chanell Walby

Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on the Dickinson city government, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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