WILLISTON, N.D. - The ARC in Williston celebrates its fifth birthday next week by offering activities for all ages.
The 236,000 square foot facility has attracted more than 1.7 million people since its opening in 2014, and many residents say it's a focal point of the city.
From workouts to childcare, the Area Recreation Center is one of Williston's main hubs for more than 1,000 people a day. The facility has become a selling point for many essential employees deciding to move to the area.
Darin Krueger, the Williston Parks and Recreation Executive Director said, "This facility has allowed everybody in town to recruit good employees, teachers, firemen, those kinds of things, and just make Williston a better place to live. That was our goal from day one. We never thought it would be this big and this successful, but we are very pleased with what we've been able to do."
Parents say the child-care center and playground have become a delightful retreat they can go to weekly.
"It helps us get out of the house, it gives us something to do, some place to go, you know, it helps the kids work off their energy. It's been really nice," said Katelyn Daniels, a mom who frequents the ARC.
Four-year-old Ruger Daniels, answers the question, “Do you play on the playground?” He said, "Uh yeah! And we play on the slides. We went wee! and we go under the turtle."
Residents who move from bigger cities say they are pleasantly surprised when discovering the ARC, and claim it's nicer than what they are used to.
"I come from Phoenix, Ariz. There were lots of gyms over there, so when I moved here there wasn't a nice gym like this. I'm 44, so I just keep myself in good shape and the ARC has helped me a lot," explained Jose Huuirre, an ARC member.
Having 50 full-time employees is essential to keep up with the growing demands, as well as cater to the various partnerships they've made.
"It's a showcase for our community. What we've been able to do with our partnerships with the school district, the city, the college. We are able to make Williston better," said Krueger.
Because March 28 is the official five-year anniversary of the ARC, next week there will be five activities a day for people to take part in. A baked goods potluck for seniors, a bounce house day in child-sitting, a mini water basketball tournament, and black light activities are some of the programs being offered.
For more information go to .