The Dickinson Park Board is moving forward with research into whether or not the city can support a second public golf course.
The board listened to a report from Peter Elzi with planning firm THK Associates at its regular meeting Monday afternoon and decided to appoint a committee to further study the information Elzi and his firm has gathered.
Elzi said the projected growth of Dickinson’s trade area makes building a second course marketable. Though the city’s population is not officially known, it’s believed to be between 25,000 and 30,000, and is projected to grow to at least 40,000 or more with a decade.
“Today, in what we would define as a trade area, the golf course market is pretty much in equilibrium, maybe a little bit of an undersupply,” he said. “With the growth we see occurring in the next five years, we could easily justify another golf facility in the trade area and, 10 years from now, you could probably justify two additional golf facilities.”
Elzi said the earliest Dickinson could theoretically have a second course is 2016, but most likely it would have to wait until 2017.
“The timing is probably pretty good to consider another golf course,” he said. “Five years from now, there’ll be additional demand.”
James Kramer, director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, said no rash decisions will be made concerning a potential second golf course.
“We don’t have a plan to jump and act on anything right now,” Kramer said. “We want to be prepared. This study is the first step in that process.”
Park Board Chair Mike Lefor questioned the accuracy of the numbers in Elzi’s study. Though Elzi was using the latest studies available, there was sentiment as to whether or not those studies into population growth and energy development in the area are already outdated.
“A lot of facts that are in here that need to be worked on,” Lefor said.
The Heart River Golf Course, ironically, hosted its fewest rounds in 20 years in 2013 at 21,659 rounds. It peaked at just under 40,000 in 1997. However, Kramer said the course went from being the lone one in southwest North Dakota to one of four within a half-hour drive after after courses were built in South Heart, Medora and Killdeer.
Kirby Robb, club professional at the Pheasant Country Golf Course in South Heart, said Monday his course has seen just less than 21,000 rounds played in each of the past two years. By comparison, it hosted about 16,500 rounds in 2006.
“It’s increased dramatically, and the weather affects it,” Robb said, adding there were 5,001 rounds played last July.
Community center to be fully open May 20
Matt Mack, facilities operations manager, said the West River Community Center’s renovation should be complete by Tuesday, May 20.
The one-fifth mile walking and running track on the second level of the facility was the final part of the project. It was completed over the weekend, Mack said, but the material used for it needs time to cure.