City That Can’t Keep Up With Infrastructure Breaking Ground On One Of The Nation’s Largest Rec Centers
Back in July I wrote about the City of Williston’s plans for a gigantic new recreation center which, at the time, was to be something like 241,000 square feet and include an indoor surfing facility. This was problematic because many, including Democrat governor candidate Ryan Taylor, have suggested that state leaders aren’t appropriating enough money to western communities to keep up with the oil boom.
That’s a little hard to believe when Williston, which is at the heart of the Bakken oil boom, is building a lavish rec facility instead of focusing funding on other priorities like infrastructure.
Anyway, today Williston breaks ground on their rec center, and while it appears to have been downsized a little bit (the indoor wave pool isn’t being built but local officials are hoping to get the funds to add it) it’s still on budget to cost $72 million.
On Sept. 20, the Williston Park Board approved the guaranteed maximum price of $71.9 million for the rec center. Funding came from 50 percent of the sales tax being collected by Williston Parks and Recreation.
The new rec center will include a 50-meter swimming pool, a lazy river, two water slides, an indoor playground and tennis courts, a 200-meter running track and a golf simulator along with other attractions.
Joel Wilt, president of the Park Board, said the facility will be one of the biggest rec centers in the country, and that they hope it serves not only the people of Williston but also the surrounding area.
Just to put this into context, the jail in Williston is filled to capacity thanks to the city’s population boom, but the city is pumping tens of millions into an extravagant recreation center.
And they have the money to spend. According to the last report from the State Tax Commissioner’s office, Williams County (Williston) has more taxable sales and purchases than Cass County (Fargo) despite having a fraction of the population. The money for this rec center is coming from a portion of the local sales tax approved for parks and recreation.
Something to keep in mind the next time you hear a politician say western communities aren’t getting enough funding from the state. Clearly, the City of Williston has more tax revenues than they know what to do with.Tags: North Dakota News, williston