Planning for Dickinson`s Population Growth | VideoAlex Hagan | 9/27/2012
Western North Dakota has many newcomers, and Dickinson is no exception. The city has roughly 22,000 people, and that number keeps growing.
"I think anyone who lives is really going to feel the growing pains, that`s the biggest issue that I see," said resident Daniel Moody.
And residents want that to slow down a little.
"Different cultures, different groups of people, and I think it`s taking effect on the city. I`d like to see the population go down some," said resident Ryan Cole.
City leaders say they expect the population to at least double in the next 10 years.
"You see the kind of growth that is predicted for Dickinson, obviously, you get both a little excited and a little scared. So your first reaction is we better start planning," said city administrator Shawn Kessel.
Engineers say they must be careful when planning to prevent a bust cycle.
"Water, sewer, transportation, infrastructure, city services, just more police, more teachers, all of those have to expand along with the population," said Kadrmas Lee and Jackson Project Manager Bob Shannon.
City leaders say the number of permanent housing units will double within the next year. However, that brings up the issue of over-building which is why the city hired an engineering firm to make sure that doesn`t happen.
"We`re trying to develop a plan to accommodate the permanent workforce, those that will be remaining when all oil drilling is done," Shannon said.
Part of that planning involves keeping up with infrastructure and employees in both the public and private sector, and they are looking to the federal government for help.
"The city levies about $3.5 million in property taxes to take on a number like 300 plus million dollars, we have to have partners in order to make that happen," Kessel said.
Residents are worried that it might be too much to handle.
"Hope they`re ready for a ride because it`s going to be a good ride," Moody said.
The population keeps growing, and city leaders are trying to plan accordingly.
Dickinson is also the only city to have an increase in the petroleum workforce every year, which contributes to the large population increase in the future.