County to help fund Badlands center

Dickinson State University has received its first funding pledge from a regional government entity for its proposed $16 million Badlands Activity Center.

Dickinson State University has received its first funding pledge from a regional government entity for its proposed $16 million Badlands Activity Center.

The Stark County Park Board recently voted 6-1 to give the DSU Foundation $100,000 for every $3 million that is raised for the proposed center, up to a maximum contribution of $500,000. The county park board pledge is funded from the sale of residential lots in the State Addition.

Stark County Commissioner Chet Willer brought the request to the county park board meeting earlier this month. The entire Stark County Commission also serves as five members of the park board.

Asked how he arrived at the amount to be contributed, Willer said the number had been thrown around for some time.

"I know some of them were talking about $400,000 instead of $500,000," he said.


Willer believes the proposed DSU facility is needed in Dickinson, Stark County and southwestern North Dakota. The proposed facility is to include a multi-use area for community and regional activities beyond sporting events, a memorabilia store, a state-of-the-art media box, indoor and outdoor club seating and general admission seating for about 4,000 overall spectators, a concession stand, exhibition space, new artificial turf football field, Olympic-standard, eight-lane track, on-site locker rooms, coaches boxes and physical training and medical facilities.

Commissioner Russ Hoff cast the lone no vote against the park board pledge, as he was hoping the majority of the funds from the sale of State Addition property would go toward a new fairgrounds.

"My other concern is $14 million or $16 million, it just seems like a huge sum of money. I think they could cut back," Hoff said, while adding he agrees DSU needs a new football stadium and track facility.

Hoff also would have preferred to have more time to consider the request, as this was the first time a formal dollar amount had come before the group.

Commissioner George Nodland also voted for the pledge and admitted he first thought it was an elaborate project.

"But as it was explained to me what all the different functions and parts of the project, I was for it from the beginning," Nodland said. "My wife and I are personally very strong supporters of the university. I think it is another quality of life, quality of place facility like the community center."

Commissioner Duane Wolf voted for the pledged amount as he thinks a lot of people will benefit from the project and it helps the community continue a progressive path forward.

"I like the fact we're giving it to them in increments," Wolf said of the pledge. "We feel we have plenty of land to sell yet and we're going to help the fairgrounds."


Park board member Arnie Binek voted for the DSU pledge as he wants to support things happening in Dickinson. But he also wants to see DSU and others work together in the future for seeking a larger new indoor facility where such activities as volleyball, basketball, rodeos, stock shows, trade shows and other events can be held.

What To Read Next
With HB 1205, Reps Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner would prohibit "sexually explicit content" in public libraries. Facing an uphill battle, the pair remain united in their commitment to see it passed.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
City accountant reports increases in oil impact, sales tax, hospitality tax and occupancy tax revenue during the Jan. 24 meeting, commission approves two policy amendments.
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.