Decisions to purchase property and continue Killdeer’s development were primary focuses during Monday’s Killdeer City Commission meeting.
By BRYCE MARTIN
Posted April 5, 2013
KILLDEER — Decisions to purchase property and continue Killdeer’s development were primary focuses during Monday’s Killdeer City Commission meeting.
Due to the increasing population of Killdeer, the city inquired about purchasing 10 acres of additional property surrounding the city-owned sewage lagoons that lie to the east of the city.
Landowner Casey Fredericks, who owns property immediately to the north of Killdeer’s lagoons, offered the land to the city for $20,000 an acre.
“We’re not going to pay that kind of price for that,” Commissioner Anita Mjolhus said with a laugh.
Mjolhus suggested the best plan of action would be for the commissioners to have another discussion to negotiate a price with Fredericks and looking into a land appraisal in the meantime.
“For a quarter-of-a-million dollars, we’ll go do something different,” engineer Russ Sorensen said.
While North Dakota laws permit the city to discharge wastewater from the lagoons, Fredericks lawfully has the right to stop the city from discharging because the process would take place on his property.
“The property owner [Fredericks] could stop us,” said Greg Nordsven, Public Works superintendent for the city of Killdeer.
Lagoons are one of the most popular methods for wastewater treatment around the world, using natural and energy-efficient processes to provide low-cost wastewater treatment for many homes and rural communities in the country.
Killdeer’s lagoons consist of three different ponds that naturally purify wastewater.
Dunn County conducted an in-house appraisal of its land using comparable rural land. The county found the average price per acre for their rural land was approximately $1,400.
The city’s lagoons are fenced in by barbed wire and designated with no trespassing signs. Though the sewage ponds cast a strong, foul odor, there is one resident who lives roughly 100 yards to the west of the lagoons. So-called “man camps” are under construction in that same area, which would have to be relocated if the city intends to install infrastructure along that stretch of road – those impromptu trailer homes would be sitting in a city right-of-way.
Following discussion, the commissioners made a unanimous vote to move ahead with obtaining an appraisal for the property at a later date.
Pool opening hinges on management
With the city sales tax approved last month, Killdeer City Administrator Dawn Marquardt suggested to the commissioners that they hold discussion on the future of the city’s pool, which is funded by the tax.
The city maintains a $500,000 fund to establish a new swimming area in Killdeer, with the existing city pool finding decline in recent years.
Mjolhus said people are finding ways to use other area pools or driving to Dickinson for a swimming facility.
“It’s definitely something the people want,” she said.
While an indoor pool costs more, it lasts longer than a traditional outdoor, in-ground pool. The elements have affected the existing outdoor pool over the years.
The existing pool owned by the city potentially would be replaced, but the commissioners were more concerned with ensuring the current pool would be able to operate if opened.
“We can get it up and running,” Nordsven said, adding that the pool would require minor heater work before opening.
Commissioners decided it was best to see if the current pool could be operated for another season, and would then move forward with a new pool. The problem, however, is not having people interested to run it.
“We can build a $6 million superpool, but if we don’t have anyone to run it … ” Commissioner Chuck Muscha said. “We need somebody to step up.”
A managerial staff for the pool is an absolute necessity for the pool to function, the commissioners said. And that’s a full-time position.
City officially leases Nordsven property
The 99-year lease agreement between the city and Nordsven officially was approved Monday by city commissioners.
“I think I’m fine with it,” Nordsven said of the agreement.
The lease stipulates the city must develop affordable housing within five years or risk defaulting on the lease.
Still without infrastructure, which the city would implement, several entities are interested in utilizing the property.
Marquardt met with interested developers and Killdeer Public School officials to discuss the future of the property.
“It was a really positive meeting,” Marquardt said.
The developers will have a presentation for the board forthcoming, but it’s still in the early stages for development.
“If the project doesn’t take hold until later this year or next year, it will still benefit school,” Killdeer Mayor Dan Dolechek said. “But one of my main concerns is access points to the property.”
Contact Bryce Martin at email@example.com.