2013 Year in Review: Part 4 - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

2013 Year in Review: Part 4

2013 Year in Review: Part 4

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Minot's city council opened July by saying 'no' to a new Wal Mart Super Center for north Minot.
The council vote reversed a decision made one month earlier to allow the new store.

In Williston, a staple of the downtown burned down.  Gaffaney's was reduced to ruble by a massive fire.The cause of the fire was never found, but business owners pressed on with plans to find a new location to re-open.

NDSU released a report in July estimating Williston's population had grown from the 14,700 of the 2010 census count to between 25 and 33 thousand, an approximate doubling in size for the busy, oil-boom town.

The bustling Bakken attracted thousands of new workers - and the majority leader of the US House of Representatives paid a visit - Eric Cantor toured oil sites alongside North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer.

Road construction hit a record pace in western North Dakota as the state poured most of a billion dollars into projects to improve the safety of the roads that had become death traps in some areas.

The effort to remove oil trucks from highways got a boost as Enbridge opened its new pipeline and rail loading facility near Berthold.  It was part of more than one billion dollars in Bakken investments by the company in the year.

In Watford City, the oil activity meant a large jump in student population - and in August, a 30-thousand square foot addition to the school was completed to deal with the space crunch.

In Minot, the school board decided in late August to ask voters to approve up to 125-million dollars in bonds to build a second high school, a new elementary school, and make many other improvements.  The vote was scheduled for December 10th.

Meanwhile, a flood-destroyed school opened for the first time since being rebuilt. Longfellow Elementary was rebuilt and expanded at its original location.

Late August brought unexpected good news for the Minot Airport - the FAA released more than six million dollars to get the new terminal project off the ground.  The money allowed work to begin on the 40 million dollar project that now had firmed-up 25 million dollars in funding.

In flood recovery news, the state announced a sales tax refund of up to 25-hundred dollars for flood victims who had rebuilt their homes.  Meanwhile, the city of Minot announced five million dollars from the new CDBG funding would be available for direct payments to people who had rebuilt their homes, although there was a question if many would be able to meet the qualifications.  At the same time, Hope Village - the multi-denominational group attracting volunteers from across the nation had surpassed the two million dollar mark in the value of the time donated to help people rebuild. 

In the Towner area, a milestone hit in mid July when the Mouse River finally dropped below moderate flood stage for the first time since spring flooding began. Still, the river was making thousands of acres of premium pasture land unusable, forcing some ranchers to find expensive alternatives for raising their cattle.

The State Fair Board and Ward County Historical Society were locked in a battle over the future of Pioneer Village - the group of buildings located on the fairgrounds.  The Fair Board wanted the buildings moved to a new site to allow for expansion of the fair but the Historical Society wanted to stay in the location, citing the high number of visitors it receives during the State Fair.  At year's end, the Fair Board had threatened legal action if the buildings weren't removed by mid-January.

Meanwhile, the State Fair set another attendance record in 2013 - reporting more than 320-thousand visitors had come to the nine-day event.

And golfers got some welcome news in mid-summer as the former Minot Country Club, now the Vardon Club, opened for the first time since the 2011 flood.  About the same time, groundbreaking was held southeast of Minot for a new Minot Country Club planned for play beginning in 2015.
With 2013 in review, Jim Olson, KX News.

 

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