Watford City, McKenzie County buzzing with activity

Submitted Photo Fridley Field on the campus of the new Watford City High School helps meet the need for bigger accommodations as school enrollment is at an all-time high, shown in this photo by Chad Ziemendorf.

WATFORD CITY – Things have been buzzing in Watford City and throughout McKenzie County.

Our newly-opened Rough Rider Center provides expanded opportunities for the hockey club, gymnastics club, water enthusiasts, walkers, ball throwers, coffee drinkers, and more.

They have also brought in folks from outside the area by hosting events such as the Northern Plains District President’s Cup Hockey Tournament, North Dakota Girls State Hockey Tournament, and the High School Girls Region 8 Basketball Tournament.

This summer we will see a new veterans’ memorial park begin construction as well as a golf course expansion project. Our expanded Watford Market will see its second year that includes a farmers market, live music, grilled hamburgers, demonstrations and more.

The newly-formed Long X Arts Foundation will soon host its second annual Badlands Arts Gala, and the Young Professionals — amongst a host of other service organizations — will continue to improve the community with their efforts.

We are also working with the University of Mary, Williston State College, TrainND and the North Dakota Small Business Development Center to provide continuing education, workforce training and business development for our growing and changing community.

The McKenzie County Healthcare System is expecting to have its nursing home facility completed in late summer 2017 and hospital and clinic in the spring of 2018.

In March 2017 we cut the ribbon on our new Law Enforcement Center.

Our public school system enrollment has seen 130 percent growth (over 1,000 students) since 2008, with enrollments continuing to grow each year. Our kindergarten class has about twice as many students as our senior class, so that growth will be felt for years to come.

In late 2016, the Northern Bypass Project was completed which accommodates higher traffic volumes and improves connectivity for east- and west-bound travelers especially from the Williston to Keene/New Town communities, reducing their trip by approximately 17 miles. Work continues with the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association to improve safety and connectivity on U.S. Highway 85 by four-laning it from Watford City to Interstate 94 at Belfield.

The Watford City Economic Development Corporation, the McKenzie County Job Development Authority (both established in 1988), and the N.D. Small Business Development Center are the primary economic development organizations for the county. Gene Veeder is the Economic Development coordinator for the City of Watford City, Daniel Stenberg for McKenzie County and Keith Olson is the regional director of our local Small Business Development Center. Please call 444-7419 for more information, or visit econdev.mckenziecounty.net.