Development of North Dakota park stalls amid budget woes
BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota Parks and Recreation officials say they won’t move forward with plans to develop a 200-acre park along the Missouri River until funding is secured for operations and maintenance.
The master plan for the Missouri River Day Park south of Bismarck is complete, but officials said the project has stalled because there isn’t enough money in the recently approved budget for the North Dakota Parks and Recreation, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
The department originally had $11.75 million in funds available for park improvements across the state, but money that hadn’t been spent on projects in other parks was used to address the state budget shortfall. All development efforts have been put on hold since.
Community groups have said they want to provide volunteer labor to make park improvements. Local Boy Scouts and the Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club suggested their members could help with primitive trail-making.
But Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Kristin Byram said public health and safety standards hold the department back from using volunteers.
“If we had an allocation for operation and maintenance for a new park, then we would welcome volunteer efforts to help with development of this park,” Byram said. “However, without that, we have no way to provide the resource management or service for public health and safety that a park requires.”
Byram said the department needs funding to pick up litter and hire law enforcement and weed management officials before the public will be able to visit the park.
The agency will likely have to wait until lawmakers craft a new budget in 2019.