Downtown Dickinson Square makes significant construction progress as winter looms
DICKINSON — A construction project is never regarded as a successful endeavor until it satisfies the cost, time and quality limitations applied to it, but The Dickinson Town Square project is by all accounts being heralded as a success midway through construction.
The project has been in the planning and construction stages for approximately five years, but structural work on the project has made headway despite significant delays. The multi-million dollar project is now being projected by the City of Dickinson for completion by early Spring 2023, as opposed to the initial estimations of a Summer 2022 opening.
Public Works Director Gary Zuroff, with the City of Dickinson, noted that the project has faced a series of changes and material delays that have pushed the completion beyond anything possible for 2022, but noted that the city is very excited with the progress and looking forward to the quality of life project’s completion.
“We’re about 50% completed on the project, dollarwise. There have been some delays, from material related issues, to contract related issues and even city related issues as we have added some items to the project…” Zuroff said. “Right now some of the long term delays are related to panels we’re looking at ordering, which are about six months out [to receive] and will probably delay completion until early Spring 23.”
Despite the delays, construction efforts have continued with marked progress made in installing concrete barriers and the master pavilion and stage. The bulk of the recent work has been dedicated to the pavilion and walls, Zuroff said.
The Dickinson Town Square is located on the corner of First Avenue West and Second Street West, behind the former American Bank Center building, and will drastically change the scenery of downtown while providing event and recreation opportunities for residents — something commissioners have touted over the years.
John Rehbein, a superintendent with the project for Tooz Construction, highlighted the ongoing efforts by his crews while showcasing the significant progress made to date on the project.
According to Rehbein, the project has run into a few minor issues but continues to progress in accordance with the new projections issued by the city for a Spring 2023 finish. Rehbein did note however that only half of the work has been completed with much more remaining to do before a fast approaching winter season.
The project was projected to cost approximately $5.2 million, as part of a private-public partnership. According to Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson, at 50% completion the project has surpassed $2.4 million in expenditures since 2020.
The funding source for the project remains sales taxes, and in 2022 the budgeted amount is $2 million — with Carlson noting that the actual expenditures for the year will not be available until calculated at year end as the budget is balanced for audit.
According to documents provided by the City of Dickinson, the net summary amount for the project indicates $1 million in 2022 and $1 million in 2023. These funds are the earmarked amounts of a $2 million loan that was approved by the city commission from the Future Fund investments in December of 2021.
The current project is estimated to rise slightly from the original $5.2 million to approximately $5.4 million, though post-construction work and continued changes to the plans could see the amount rise more.
The Dickinson Town Square project is slated to provide a place for a farmer’s market, outdoor concerts, trade shows, art fairs, ice skating and other events in the community. Spearheading the project is the Town Square Task Force, which includes representatives from the Dickinson City Commission, the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, the Stark Economic Development Corporation, Dickinson State University, Downtown Dickinson Association, American Bank Center and Dickinson Parks and Recreation.