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Dickinson Town Square takes next big step

The Dickinson City Commission weighed in on different topics from the approval of rezoning for the Career and Technical Education Academy site, mental health proclamation and Town Square update.

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A rendering of the Dickinson Town Square shows what the structure will look like in a warm season. (Photo courtesy of JLG Architects)

Among the long list of items on this week’s Dickinson City Commission agenda, representatives from JLG Architects provided the city with an update on the Dickinson Town Square project.

The Dickinson City Commission met Wednesday, April 21, at City Hall, and voted to unanimously approve the design development phase documents for the Dickinson Town Square. Construction bids for the project are tentatively scheduled for mid-June with the planning to move forward with construction by fall. By the summer of 2022, the Dickinson Town Square is projected for completion for occupancy, City Administrator Brian Winningham said.

The Downtown Improvement District are “leading the capital campaign” and they’re in charge of raising all of the funds for the public private partnership so they can match the city’s funding for the project, Winningham noted.

Currently, the project is estimated at approximately $5.2 million and the commission addressed which priority features, such as a synthetic ice rink and portable movie screen, they would want to include in the Dickinson Town Square. Adding gas heaters in the pavilions of the project would also be a priority so it allows for year-round usage of the area, Winningham said.

“So I think it’s the best place for people in the community to have a meeting space that considers all social dynamics to really have a single point for a vibrant Town Square that pulls all of the other business together to create the downtown environment,” Winningham said.

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Winningham said that the city is trying to cut some of the features originally sketched in the design plans to alleviate the costs of the project. The city is also seeking federal funds in a budget appropriation with the Fiscal Year 2022 Community Project federal budget from U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.

“That would help fund the entire project for the downtown area,” Winningham said.

The Dickinson Town Square will be located on the corner of First Avenue West and Second Street West, behind the former American Bank Center building — which will be the new City Hall building.

“We’ve been engaged in what we call the ‘design development phase’ of this project, and we’re ready to move onto the next phase of the project — which would be the construction document phase,” Zach Mathern of JLG Architects said.

JLG Architects have developed the site plan over the past couple of months.

“Ultimately, we would be poised to move on to the construction documents phase upon approval of the design development phase. In the construction documents phase, we’ll be finalizing the details of the project, assessing very minute details of construct ability (and) how materials meet. And we’ll actually do another estimate upon the completion of that phase as well,” Mathern said. “Our overall goal of the project is to stay on track so that there is the opportunity for you to put this project out for bid this fall, so that it can potentially start construction this fall.”

In other agenda items, Mayor Scott Decker presented the Mental Health American Proclamation, unanimously passing by the commission. Since 1949, the United States has observed May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This proclamation is essential to everyone’s health and well-being as all Americans experience times of difficulty and stress in their lives, Decker noted.

“... There is a strong research that diet, exercise, sleep and stress management can help all Americans protect their health and well-bring; and whereas, mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation,” Decker said.

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The commission voted to approve two ordinances for the second reading of the proposed Future Land Use Map Amendment for the Career and Technical Education Academy site of 40-acres from commercial and industrial to public. The commission also approved a new position for deputy fire chief, which will eliminate the assistant fire chief and fire marshal positions within the Dickinson Fire Department. That position will be hired internally, and will be filled soon.

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