Bismarck Residents Need to Put Kibosh to $114.5 Million Rec Center

(Photo via Facebook)

If you’re a resident of Bismarck, then you’ve probably heard about the recreation complex being proposed for North Dakota’s capital city. It’s a doozy— a 25 acre, $114.5 million doozy. The Bismarck Tribune covered it yesterday.

Over the years, we’ve featured a number of absolutely ridiculous — and shameful — things here on The Minuteman. Governments provide plenty of material that enables us to do so. This one undoubtedly belongs on the list. In fact, it might just be so asinine that it’s worthy of satire on something like The Babylon Bee. It’s just that bad.

Bismarck Parks and Recreation are proposing the mega-plex. Yesterday, Green Play, LLC — a Colorado-based consulting firm — was on hand to assist in presenting the concept— to a whopping 90 people. Plans were drafted after receiving 1,717 responses to a survey conducted back in March, in which respondents were asked what facilities they wanted for an indoor recreation center. In October, Parks and Rec had a Q&A event where about 200 people turned out for the opportunity to ask questions and provide input.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of how many tennis courts, pickleball courts, and the like are being proposed in the complex. Check out the Tribune article if you’re interested in that. What I’d like to focus on stems from this:

“Construction costs would be almost $114.5 million, funded by a new sales tax and private donations.

“Projected revenue would be $2.6 million each year. Projected expenses would total $3.1 million annually. Expenses not covered by revenue would be paid through the Parks and Recreation budget.

“Staff said if the project were to be voted on by the public and approved in June 2020, the center could open in 2023.”

It’s bad enough that people think government has a role in sports and recreation. But the $114.5 million project will require more taxation?! Seriously? It’s simply outrageous. If the demand for such a thing were high enough, then the private sector would build it. But let’s be honest— it’s not.

The population of Bismarck is somewhere around 72,000 people. Yet, out of the gate, they’re projecting that attendance won’t even be high enough to cover expenses— meaning taxpayers get to pay for the shortfall too. Is this truly what some would call good governance? I think not.

This is the kind of project that gets approved when people aren’t paying attention or getting involved. The residents of Bismarck need to squash this proposal. Send it to where it belongs— the trash heap of really bad ideas.

There’s a limited role for government, and Bismarck undoubtedly has needs, but building a $114.5 million recreation complex — partly with taxpayer dollars — is not one of them.

(Note: A final presentation to the board will take place on December 19th, at 5:15pm. It will be in the Tom Baker room, 221 North 5th Street.)



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About T. Arthur Mason 882 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.