Bowman County industrial park

The Bowman County Development Corporation began the process of evaluating the possibility of an industrial park early in 2015. With community collaboration and leadership, the project will see construction starting this summer.

Teran Doerr, executive director of the Bowman County Development Corporation, offered information about this project in a recent Q&A.

Tell us how this project came about and how it will affect your community.

This project fit directly into the mission of the Bowman County Development Corporation. An opportunity arose, and we felt it was our responsibility to consider it for the future growth of our community. Like the rest of the state, Bowman County has a need to seek diversification within our local economy.

Many experts will tell you that one of the key ways to grow your economy is to have “shovel-ready” industrial land. This land classification indicates accessible infrastructure and processing through permitting within 90 days. Bowman County saw the benefits of having developable land available as a marketable asset to recruit potential industry.

The property had many available assets that made it a key consideration. It was adjacent to the city, which allowed us access to city services and was next to properties with similar uses. It also has three-phase power, access to rail and easy access to State Highways 12 and 85.

Some key ways this will affect our community are through growth in our tax base as well as jobs. It also offered us the opportunity for planned development, which is important as you look at what other communities across North Dakota have experienced through face-paced growth. This project gives us an opportunity to add another key asset to the community and we are excited about the potential it has.

What have you accomplished with the new Industrial Park? i.e., new services, greater efficiencies, etc.

Although the property has not been placed on the market yet, getting it to this point has been a big achievement in itself. This project was complex! There were many players involved and necessary in making this a possibility.

We recently received news of the FAA’s release of the property, and it now has been made available for redevelopment. This was long awaited news. We can now finalize planning and zoning, as well as open bids for construction of Phase 1 infrastructure. This will include water, sewer and streets, ensuring the property is in fact “shovel-ready.” The property was also annexed into the city, allowing us access to those services.

In a matter of time, we will have commercial and industrial use lots for sale and another great asset to in our county.

What kind of research did you complete to assess the need to build the Industrial Park? How did you obtain community buy-in for the project?

As this was a new undertaking for our community, we felt that it was important to bring a firm to perform a feasibility study that could help us understand if this was viable and a good risk to take. We worked with Gilmore Planning as well as our local engineering firm, Brosz Engineering, to evaluate the project and complete a feasibility report. The plan was presented to both the city and county commissions, as well as the public.

The project did have some controversy surrounding it due to the use of public funds and location. We wanted everyone to understand when investing in the future growth of our community, there comes risk, but also great reward. We were able to present a long-term vision that the community was able to buy in to. After the research was conducted, the boards of the EDC, county and city took the time to evaluate it. It was presented to the public and the decision was made to take this worthwhile risk for the future growth of Bowman County.

What lessons learned do you have to share?

I remember the first day I presented this as a possibility to my Board of Directors. It was a new concept, and a large undertaking. Once the ball started rolling, we just kept going. There were times we considered not moving forward because of the obstacles we were facing, but with tenacity and perseverance, we accomplished our goal.

Strong leadership was key in making this project happen. If a community wants to grow, it’s imperative. Without great leaders, Bowman County would not have many of the great assets it has today.

How did you finance the project?

The project was made possible, primarily by a collaboration of the Bowman County Development Corporation (BCDC), the Bowman City Commission and the Bowman County Commission. While the BCDC took the lead on the project, the county agreed to finance the purchase of the property as well as make the initial investment in studying the project. The city of Bowman agreed to use a portion of the surge funding they had received from the North Dakota Legislature to fund Phase 1 of the infrastructure. No debt has been incurred on the project to date, and any proceeds made on the sale of the lots will be put back into investing in future phases as well as economic development programs.

How will you measure ROI?

The best return we could get on this project will be seeing businesses investing in our community and job growth. We have already had several inquiries in to the purchase of lots, so we are quite hopeful that this project will be a great investment into the future of our community.

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