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City, RTC agree on purchase of land for water tower

Posted 2/11/14 (Tue)

By Stephanie Norman
Farmer Staff Writer

The Watford City City Council hashed out details over a land bargain for one of the two new water towers at the Feb. 3, meeting.
At a past council meeting, Reservation Telephone Cooperative (RTC) offered to sell the city a one-acre piece of land, which is adjacent to the existing water storage tanks in Watford City, for $25 thousand, which would be used to build a one-million gallon water tower.
Shane Hart, a RTC representative, said at the February meeting, “As Watford City grows, we want the city to give us the protection that we (RTC) will be the sole provider for the next 20 plus years. We want to be the exclusive franchise here in Watford City and the surrounding areas.”
With that being said, Hart then said, if the City Council agreed, that RTC would give them the land as a donation to build water storage on.
City Council Member Justin Voll said, “Twenty years is a long time. I’m looking to protect the Watford City people and I don’t know if jumping into a franchise agreement is a good idea right now. The council just needs a selling price for the land.”
Mayor Brent Sanford backed up Voll’s comment.
“This was talked about months ago,” Sanford said to the RTC representative. “Watford City needs land for water supply. This back and forth is getting frustrating for everyone.”
“It really leaves a bad taste in my mouth that the land agreement is being used as leverage to gain an exclusive agreement now,” City Planner Curt Moen said. “Can you find out what the selling price is?”
Days after the meeting, Moen confirmed that RTC would be moving forward with the “originally agreed upon $25 thousand purchase price.”
The city is to construct a one-million gallon water tower on the one-acre site adjacent to the existing water storage tanks, which will increase the city’s water storage capacity and improve water pressure in that section of town.
A second tower will be put up near the Watford City Golf Course on land the city already owns.
JLG Architects present event
center plans to City Council
Lonnie Laffen with JLG Architects provided visual design plans for an event center located in the Fox Hills Subdivision, which would neighbor the plans for the new high school.
“When we talk about the idea of a Watford City Event Center running in tangent with the idea of a new school up on the hill (Fox Hills), it sort of levels off the 40 acres,” Laffen said. “The idea is to start a discussion about an event center to see if it’s doable.”
Laffen pointed out a few advantages to the city council. The two entities would share a parking lot. The synergy of the complex would grow and the students could utilize the event center - for it would be within safe walking distance.
“It’s designed to be flexible with what you want,” Laffen said. “By no means is this the final plan. This design is in the $50 million range, but it can be done in stages or picked apart to modify it.”
Sanford said, “It’s going to take a lot of creative thinking to move forward with these plans. The school and event center are almost more important for the community than streets right now. We don’t need streets if we can’t keep the people here. We just have to stay on task. These plans look great.”
The city council decided to allow JLG to move forward with the design and a top dollar price with the understanding that at any point the city can back out.
Council approves Centennial Committee beer/wine proposal
During the 100th Centennial Celebration on June 27 and 28, at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds, the Watford City Centennial Committee would like to have beer and wine available in a confined area.
Jan Dodge, a member of the Centennial Committee, proposed that two beer and wine establishments from Watford City would take charge of serving the alcohol as well as checking IDs to ensure consumption is only by those who are 21 and up. There will be wristbands provided to those of age.
“We are looking for the city council’s review and approval of this proposal,” Dodge said. “There will be a lot going on and a lot of different choices of activities for people to participate in. The beer and wine will be in a confined area, but still enough room to allow movement.”
Council member and member of the Centennial Committee Doug Bolken said, “If something goes wrong, we would just have to shut it down. We would keep the kids away from this area by setting their focus in a different area.”
After a brief discussion, the council approved the committee’s beer and wine proposal.
Taylor shares airport changes
and plans with city council
Tim Taylor with the Watford City Airport gave the council a brief update on the changes the airport is undergoing and planning.
“We are looking to enlarge the airport,” Taylor said. “We’ve had contact with architects and an engineer for months now.”
There has been a lot of talk of lengthening the runway, adding larger airlines and building more parking lot space, but Taylor reiterates the cost.
“When you build one thing, you have to accommodate other things to go along with it,” Taylor said. “The rapid change and growth in Watford City is getting the FFA’s attention to bring in funding. We are seeing a lot more air traffic in Watford now.”
Taylor is putting long hard hours in to help bring the airport up to date. More information will follow on this topic soon.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Watford City City Council will be at 6 p.m. on March 3.