Williston welcomes major quality of life projects in 2024

Submitted Photo Williston Water World, a five-year communitywide effort, is scheduled to open in summer 2025.

WILLISTON – Williston continues to experience significant growth and development across various sectors, including oil and gas, agriculture, education, healthcare, and recreation. The community offers the cozy and welcoming vibe of a small town with the hustle and bustle of urban life.

The city will celebrate many community development milestones in 2024, including construction on a new waterpark, groundbreaking on a new healthcare training facility, and the opening of new retail stores and restaurants.

The following is a list of 2024 achievements:

Williston Water World: The construction of the expansive new outdoor water park has been a five-year communitywide effort. The Williston Community Builders raised the funds for the construction of the project and the Williston Parks and Recreation District will own and operate the pool when it opens in the summer of 2025. “Over 400 individual donors, contractors, in-kind donors, school kids, non-profits, and local government agencies have raised over $14.5 million so far,” said Nick Lippert. Lippert is the past president and current board member of the Community Builders while serving on the Pool Action Committee (PAC). “We are in the final stretch of securing three years of estimated operation costs for the long-term success of the project,” Lippert added.

Williston State College Healthcare Facility: The college’s ambitious plan to construct a state-of-the-art medical training facility aims to retain local talent and meet the growing workforce needs in healthcare. Groundbreaking on the $36.6 million project is planned in the spring of 2024. “To sustain and grow the levels of oil production in western North Dakota, currently averaging 1.2+ million barrels per day, the population of northwest North Dakota must continue to grow,” said Dr. Bernell Hirning, president of WSC. “Population growth will require healthcare providers to expand their services. For healthcare providers to expand, a trained healthcare workforce is needed. That’s where Williston State College comes in… with construction of a 40,000-squae-foot healthcare training facility on the WSC campus. WSC will be adding up to a dozen healthcare-related academic programs to deliver a trained workforce to healthcare providers.” A completion date is planned in the fall of 2025.

Submitted Photo Williston State College Healthcare Training Facility will be constructed to retain local talent and meet the growing workforce needs in healthcare.

Williston Square: The city is redeveloping an 800-acre area where the former Sloulin Field International Airport was located. The area is a premier development spot in western North Dakota, with plans for a potential new grade school, residential housing, restaurants, and major corridor realignment projects to improve traffic access. “To date, Sanford Health, Taco Bell, and Bethel Lutheran Foundation have all secured property in the square for development. They will join Genesis and Slim Chickens,” said Williston Mayor Howard Klug. “The square has also proven a draw interest on private land near the development. Recently three new businesses leased space in new construction adjacent and if other projects are funded, Williston’s planning department should approach a record year in projects proposed for the square.”

Residential and Commercial Development: Efforts are underway to incentivize housing starts and commercial development. Various projects, including the addition of a new outdoor water park, healthcare training center, and commercial establishments like Dollar General and Taco Bell, may help contribute to more single-family housing construction. “We believe this year we will see more homes than previous years and look forward to the opportunities it will bring to the economy and local businesses,” said Mark Schneider, director of Development Services. “We are seeing more activity in the commercial field as well, with over 150 commercial alterations last year, improving working conditions and office spaces in many buildings, more QSR (quick service restaurant) activity with the opening of Jersey Mike’s Subs, Noodles & Company, Starbucks, and Taco Bell ready to break ground. In addition, we are seeing an addition to the Buck Scheele Family Animal Center, plus a new Dollar General, T-Mobile, and Les Schwab Tire Center.”

Williston Parks and Recreation District: Williston’s premier recreation center is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024! The Williston Area Recreation Center opened its doors in March of 2014. The multi-purpose center has seen significant community engagement over the years. “Since the doors of the WARC opened in 2014, there have been over 2.5 million visits to the facility, primarily made up of daily visits of the local community. The facility has shown zero signs of decline in participation rates and visits. If anything, it feels as if the place is busier by the day!” said Joe Barsh, executive director of WPRD. “The district is focusing the bulk of its future capital projects toward a better network of trails, enhanced green spaces and updated outdoor fields/courts.”

Overall, Williston is undergoing a period of dynamic growth and improvement, with a focus on enhancing quality of life, expanding educational and healthcare facilities, and boosting economic development. Williston Economic Development is seeking to hire a new executive director in 2024 to take the lead on community development.


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