Dickinson Looks to Add New Venues - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Dickinson Looks to Add New Venues

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Stark County's population is growing right along with the energy industry. But it doesn't have a large events venue. The Dickinson State University Alumni and Foundation says it wants to do something about that. But not everyone in the city is on board.

For the past few years, the Dickinson State University rodeo team has had some problems with its

"They need to keep their livestock outside of town and bring it in," says Kevin Thompson, DSU Alumni and Foundation.

That concern prompted the DSU Alumni and Foundation to look at a way to improve the team's facilities. And that spiraled into a much bigger project.

"There's about six different entities that have joined together and said maybe we can build a facility that will benefit all of the community at one point in time, not just the city of Dickinson but the entire region," says Thompson.

The group has proposed a four-hundred fifty-five thousand square foot complex that would house a rodeo arena, exhibition hall, and venue with seating for five-thousand, and dub it the Badlands Event Center.

"So, this would allow events to be year round and we could have multiple events at one time. We could have very large events," says Thompson.

The project would be about $100 million and some residents say that amount is a bit concerning.

"It's not in the best interest of the community to have an organization come in and build a $100 million project, which would be another five years," says Badlands Integrity Group Owner Shelly Fleck.

And Fleck says this kind of project was already in the works a few years ago for much less. She's a member of the Stark County Fair Board who wanted to build fairgrounds with similar venues in 2011.

"We're the only county in the state of North Dakota that does not have a fairground," says Fleck.

Fleck also says a fairground would be a better addition to the community, because of its educational value to the newer population.

The planning is still in the early stages, but DSU has hired a Minnesota company to conduct a feasibility study starting in two weeks. They will release the results of that study in two phases, first in mid-December and again in February. As of right now, they don't have a site for the events center. It was a little chilly but sunny in Dickinson today, kevin. Is it going to stay that way?


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