Population Growth and Watford City - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Population Growth and Watford City

Population Growth and Watford City

Posted: Updated:

North Dakota's population continues to grow.

According to new figures from the

U-S Census Bureau, about 18-thousand people migrated into the state last year, the largest gain in the past three years.

A state Commerce Department official says the influx of 18-thousand people is even more dramatic when compared with what was happening a decade ago when the state was losing thousands of people each year.

The most recent Census estimate puts the state's population at a record 723,393 as of last year.

The population of Watford City is projected to nearly triple in the next 15 years.

And the town at the front door to North Dakota's badlands is exploding with housing and business growth to deal with the influx.

Jim Olson reports on the local Chamber of Commerce effort to engage the business community in the political aspect of the oil boom.

It's not hard to see the growth in Watford City. Right on the town's south edge - a huge new shopping complex has arisen in a formerly empty field.

(Darik Franzen, Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce) "We here in Watford City and the McKenzie County area believe that we are now the new epicenter of the Bakken"

The president of the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce doesn't have to look far to back up that contention. The membership of his group has more than doubled in the past year.

(Darik Franzen, Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce) "In 2012 our membership was 95, and I think now at the end of 2013 we're up to 195 members and we don't see that ending any time soon."

Darick Franzen says the business and population growth has transformed the chamber itself.

(Darik Franzen, Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce) "Historically our chamber, because of it being a farm community, was the social organizing group but clearly now with the demands of the Bakken oil field and the needs of our members we need to become more of a professional development type chamber."

That means educational opportunities for businesses in the region will be more numerous. And at this year's annual meeting, the Watford City Chamber brought in an economic consultant to encourage and educate business owners old and new.

(Mark Haggerty, Headwaters Economics) "They need to recognize what is happening in the legislature and start to get involved and get active and support what the local governments are trying to accomplish."

Mark Haggerty says the Bakken boom creates growth and opportunity - while cultivating problems too.

(Mark Haggerty, Headwaters Economics) "The way you manage the fiscal revenues around oil - how much comes back to communities, what they can spend it for, how much predictability they have actually has a lot to do with long term outcomes - are you going to be a better place to live after the boom is over or are you going to be left wishing you had done it a bit differently."

He says the state must make sure it's getting revenue generated in the oil industry back to the communities and counties where the exploration is happening.

(Mark Haggerty, Headwaters Economics) "North Dakota at the state level has done a good job saving some of the revenue but as of right now we don't know how that revenue is going to be spent. The counties and cities don't have any guarantee that they're going to get anything other than annual revenues so there's a lot of unpredictability and uncertainty too."

Both men say businesses and citizens alike need to talk with their lawmakers to make sure their concerns are addressed when the next session of the state legislature convenes in one year. In Watford City, Jim Olson, KX News.

  • Minot/Williston NewsMore>>

  • Tribes Host Oil-Gas Summit

    Tribes Host Oil-Gas Summit

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:06 PM EDT2014-04-23 00:06:47 GMT
    The busiest tribal land in the US for oil exploration sits in the heart of the Bakken formation.More than one thousand oil wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation are producing close to 200-thousand barrels of oil every day.And today, the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nations opened their annual Oil and Gas Summit at the Four Bears Events Center, spotlighting oil development and environmental stewardship.Following a traditional native song and colorful dance, Chairman Tex Hall opened the event by poi...
    The busiest tribal land in the US for oil exploration sits in the heart of the Bakken formation.More than one thousand oil wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation are producing close to 200-thousand barrels of oil every day.And today, the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nations opened their annual Oil and Gas Summit at the Four Bears Events Center, spotlighting oil development and environmental stewardship.Following a traditional native song and colorful dance, Chairman Tex Hall opened the event by poi...
  • Trucker in Deadly Accident Enters Pleas

    Trucker in Deadly Accident Enters Pleas

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:50:32 GMT
    A truck driver charged with three counts of negligent homicide has pleaded 'not guilty.'A fiery crash east of Stanley last June ended with three men dead.50-year-old Vernon Wright was driving a semi truck and trailer, crossing the westbound lane of Highway 2 during a time of low visibility due to fog.Wright stopped in the westbound lane after the first collision, blocking westbound traffic --- an act prosecution calls a 'gross deviation from acceptable standards of conduct.'Prosecution and de...
    A truck driver charged with three counts of negligent homicide has pleaded 'not guilty.'A fiery crash east of Stanley last June ended with three men dead.50-year-old Vernon Wright was driving a semi truck and trailer, crossing the westbound lane of Highway 2 during a time of low visibility due to fog.Wright stopped in the westbound lane after the first collision, blocking westbound traffic --- an act prosecution calls a 'gross deviation from acceptable standards of conduct.'Prosecution and de...
  • Legislators Discuss Higher Education

    Legislators Discuss Higher Education

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:46:48 GMT
    State spending on higher education in North Dakota continues to rise -- but still, with more state dollars flowing to the institutions, the bill being passed on to students continues to rise.Representative Mark Sanford is the chairman of the legislative Higher Education Funding Committee that met at Minot State today.The Grand Forks Republican says school tuition is always a concern for legislators...But he says the schools that may get the first look when it comes to reigning in tuition may ...
    State spending on higher education in North Dakota continues to rise -- but still, with more state dollars flowing to the institutions, the bill being passed on to students continues to rise.Representative Mark Sanford is the chairman of the legislative Higher Education Funding Committee that met at Minot State today.The Grand Forks Republican says school tuition is always a concern for legislators...But he says the schools that may get the first look when it comes to reigning in tuition may ...
Quick Clicks
Closings/Delays
View list
Calendar
What's happening?
Lottery Results
Feeling lucky?
Viewer Photos
Submit yours!
Road Report
Current conditions
TV Listings
See what's on
Gas Prices
Check near you
E-Mail Newsletter
Signup now

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow
General information or questions:
kxinfo@kxnet.com

News:
Bismarck:
Phone: 701-223-9197
News Fax: 701-223-1985

News:
Minot:
Phone: 701-852-2104
News Fax: 701-838-1050
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KXNET. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.