2012 a Big Year for Dickinson | VideoAlex Hagan | 12/31/2012
"This is certainly the busiest year that I`ve ever seen in Dickinson," said City Administrator Shawn Kessel.
Dickinson has now gone from a population of 17,000 to more than 24,000 in just two years, with the biggest growth happening in 2012. With a low unemployment rate of just 1.5 percent, the city has become a destination for many people.
"Coming into the office here, we`ve seen record numbers, again, of people who want to come in and find a job," said Terri Thiel with the Dickinson CVB.
The energy industry has had a huge impact on the amount of construction taking place. In 2012, 851 homes were built, 577 of those were single family.
"Doing the things that are absolutely an infrastructure standpoint to make sure that we could build year after year after year," Kessel said.
There are now 525 businesses registered with the chamber of commerce, and more are trying to come to town.
"Population growth happens this quickly, every industry feels it. Mostly in a positive way," said Cooper Whitman with the chamber of commerce.
However, with those numbers comes some challenges. The city now needs almost a billion dollars for infrastructure. Staffing has now become a huge issue as well. Employers can`t compete with energy sector job wages and are left wondering how to fill vacant positions.
"It`s obviously more difficult for a Government agency to respond to a dynamic labor market," Kessel said.
It`s a challenge for anyone to find housing with rent prices soaring past a thousand dollars.
"Other towns grow and change too, and I think we all have to realize it," Thiel said.
City leaders say the issues are good problems to have and plan to solve them in the years to come.
"People ask me all the time, `Are you staying above water?` And my response has been, `Yeah but I`m using a straw,` (laughs)," Kessel said.
If population estimates of 45,000 in 10 years are correct, the city will have to come up with solutions soon. The city has already begun construction on a new water reclamation facility and is planning a new public safety center.