The concept of the Buffalo City Park was first floated publicly in November 2019. Now that concept has a new identity that officials hope helps promote the project on a larger scale.
The new name - Bison World, A Legendary Experience - has been reviewed by state and local officials, said Brian Lunde, one of the project's backers. The name and subtitle have already been officially trademarked.
"It shows a larger national perspective," said Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. "The thought is 'Bison World, A Legendary Experience' puts it in a bigger perspective than a city park."
Apogee Attractions is in the process of designing two or three logos that will be presented to the public to weigh in.
"We will conduct a statewide contest to see which one the public likes the best," he said. "It will help establish the official name as it replaces the 'placeholder' name of Buffalo City Park."
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. is also sending out requests for letters of intent for businesses and individuals to express interest in Bison World and the possibility of participating by sponsoring an attraction in exchange for a naming right.
"We are not asking for money," Ova said "We are asking all these people and companies to show support for this project."
Businesses could attach their name to features such as the North American Bison Discovery Center, the Bison Safari or the tethered balloon attractions, to name a few. Other naming rights and opportunities include the official french fry, hotdog and candy of the attraction, among other details.
"We've had about a dozen come back," Ova said. "All positive comments and responses."
Most of those returned so far are local. It takes longer to receive responses from national companies which commonly have advertising consultants and committees which review this type of request, Ova said.
The JSDC is also seeking letters of intent from developers to construct and operate a hotel and restaurant in Bison World.
The letters of intent and support will be presented to the North Dakota State Investment Board sometime later this summer along with feasibility studies and revenue and cost projections. The JSDC authorized $600,000 in economic development funds to prepare that information and design the architectural and engineering work to make the project a reality.
That presentation will be made under the authority of House Bill 1425 which passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Doug Burgum this winter. The law sets a goal of 10% of North Dakota's Legacy Fund being invested in North Dakota projects and takes effect Aug. 1.
The Legacy Fund was created by voters in 2010 and currently has a balance of about $8 billion. Preliminary cost estimates for Bison World are about $60 million, although that amount is being refined by the current feasibility and engineering studies being conducted.
Bison World could be one of the first projects considered for an investment from the Legacy Fund, Lunde said.