Get ready for lots of constructionThe proposed $1.2 billion Spiritwood Nitrogen Project by CHS Inc. about 10 miles east of Jamestown could make Stutsman County the next part of North Dakota to experience a boom.
The proposed $1.2 billion Spiritwood Nitrogen Project by CHS Inc. about 10 miles east of Jamestown could make Stutsman County the next part of North Dakota to experience a boom.
We welcome this new enterprise to our community. The project makes good use of North Dakota’s energy production and provides farmers with needed fertilizer. It will also be good for Jamestown’s businesses and bring more people to our area. We congratulate the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. for securing this project as well as the North Dakota Farmers Union, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and the North Dakota Department of Commerce.
Jamestown has about two years before construction is to start on this plant, so there’s some time to prepare for what’s coming. But we cannot allow ourselves to be complacent.
Considering this area has never experienced an undertaking this large, it begs the question: Will Jamestown experience the growing pains similar to what Dickinson and Williston are feeling because of western North Dakota’s rise in energy development?
According to North Dakota Housing Finance Agency Executive Director Mike Anderson, bringing in 2,000 construction workers on a temporary basis could be problematic for the community in terms of driving up costs in the area, which could then lead to displacing permanent residents. He said it could potentially result in a “miniature version” of what has taken place in western North Dakota in terms of the housing crunch and rise of costs. That’s something we don’t want to happen.
But before we jump to any rash conclusions, let’s examine the big picture of what this proposed plant would do for the community.
The project — which is expected to begin construction in 2014 and be completed in the second half of 2016 — would bring 2,000 construction workers to the area, according to estimates from the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.
Once completed, the fertilizer manufacturing plant is expected to bring up to 150 full-time jobs — varying in skill set and wages, according to CHS Inc. Vice President of Transportation and Terminal Operations Dan Mack.
That level of economic development is extraordinary for a county of 22,000 people and for a city of 15,000 like Jamestown.
In addition, there would be direct positive effects on the local and state economies, by not only bringing in additional businesses and residents, but also providing more high-paying, high-skilled jobs such as site engineers, plant managers and operations technicians.
The biggest question for this area specifically is if Jamestown and the surrounding area have the housing and the infrastructure to accommodate such growth.
This looming influx of economic development as well as the arrival of thousands of new residents will challenge our infrastructure, housing and resources. In addressing these issues comes the most important step — preparation.
Jamestown can accommodate most anything if it acts to provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for additional businesses and residents. We’ll also need housing, but that can’t happen without private developers — not to mention contractors, electricians, plumbers and many others.
The City Council and Jamestown Planning Commission will prove to be instrumental in this process. The council decides city policy on development and funds infrastructure, and the Planning Commission is charged with planning for such growth.
These incoming people won’t just need housing. They will create more demand for food, clothing, education, entertainment and transportation. This means our businesses and institutions can expect to grow, and it’s possible other businesses will be interested in coming here to connect to our growing population.
The Stutsman County Commission and JSDC will also have their work cut out for them, too, in the coming years.
No one has a crystal ball that can project exactly how this will all unfold. But a well-prepared approach to preparing for a possible Stutsman County boom will serve this area tremendously if growth is a top priority for this community.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)