BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — A riverfront festival grounds along the Bismarck side of the Missouri River, supported by multiple local and state interests, has earned a $4 million funding grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

Earlier this year, the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation and AGL Landscape Architects approached Bismarck city officials to ask for collaborative permission to apply for grants that would begin the build-out of Bismarck’s “River District.” Components of the festival grounds could include a bandshell, lawn space, public beach, boardwalk, and fishing piers with commercial docks, outdoor food court for food trucks, splash pads, and playground equipment. Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota’s Tourism and Marketing Director, states that many of the ideas for this renovation came from the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

“It’s anchored to the Heritage Landing,” she explained, “which is where the riverboat launches from. You’ve got the Gateway to Science Center right above, which is very visible from I-94, and it’s in one of the most scenic areas of the river that really isn’t utilized or accessible by a lot of visitors.”

As part of the application process for the North Dakota Department of Commerce grant, the Bismarck City Commission pledged the 4.4 acres of Keelboat Park as long as the grant funding was received. The land is valued at $2 million.

The Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau also unanimously voted to award the project $500,000.

In addition to the $4 million, the development group is also pursuing additional federal grant opportunities.

More information about the project is available at