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ADM tops Jamestown news stories for 2021

The planned construction of a $350 million soybean processing plant topped the list of news stories for the region in 2021.

bison grizzly
One of the planned displays at Bison World is a depiction of a battle between a grizzly bear and bison. The display is lifesized and designed for people to include in pictures and post to social media. Contributed / Apogee Attractions
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ADM's plan for a new soybean crushing plant at Spiritwood is the top news story for Jamestown in 2021 as determined by the news staff at The Jamestown Sun. Here are summaries of the top 10 stories for the area for 2021:

1. ADM

ADM made a pledge to the Jamestown community on June 16 that it would succeed in constructing a state-of-the-art soybean crushing mill at Spiritwood. Plans called for the company to demolish a large portion of the former Cargill Malt plant and construct a $350 million facility designed to crush soybeans and produce oil and meal on the site.

The pledge was important after plans by Minnesota Soybean Growers had fallen through after more than two years of discussion. During litigation regarding the Minnesota Soybean Growers plan, interest by another company, referred to as Company X at the time but later identified as ADM, came to light.

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The ADM plant, scheduled for completion in time to process the soybean crop harvested in the fall of 2023, will have the capacity to crush about 25% of the soybeans grown in North Dakota.

Demolition work on the old Cargill Malt plant began later in the summer.

2. Bison World

While the concept of Bison World was first discussed in November of 2019, planning hit full stride in 2021.

Plans developed by Apogee Attractions detail a theme and cultural park dedicated to the legacy of the bison which became the official mammal of the United States in 2016. Plans call for the construction of the park on land owned by the state of North Dakota adjacent to Interstate 94 and near U.S. Highway 281/52.

rail car
The railcar exhibit in the planned Bison World park will give visitors the experience of observing bison on the Great Plains from the interior of a railcar traveling through the region Contributed / Apogee Attractions

The plans call for ziplines, restaurants, educational displays promoting the bison, the state of North Dakota and Native American lore and history all dedicated to the bison. The project is designed to attract tourists to the Jamestown area as well as North Dakota in general through cross-promotion with other attractions in the state.

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During the 2021 North Dakota legislative session, backers of Bison World and other groups lobbied for changes to state law allowing more flexibility to make investments from North Dakota's Legacy Fund in projects within the state. While the law was changed, methods to apply for those investments have not been developed as of the end of the year.

Backers of the project have formed a nonprofit corporation and named corporate officers to proceed with the project if financing can be arranged.

3. Anne Carlsen Center to relocate

The Anne Carlsen Center broke ground on its new campus in October after several years of planning and fundraising. The new facility will be located adjacent to Jamestown Regional Medical Center on the west side of Jamestown.

A bird's-eye view of the planned Anne Carlsen Center project. Site work could start this fall if financing is approved and building costs fall within preliminary estimates. Contributed / Anne Carlsen Center

The new campus allows the Anne Carlsen Center to continue its 80-year tradition of caring for and educating young people with disabilities or delays. The preliminary cost estimate for the project is $41 million with about $12 million already raised through donations.

The center was recognized as a positive for the state of North Dakota and Jamestown. Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said during the groundbreaking ceremony that the community is a better place with the Anne Carlsen Center here.

Construction is scheduled to start in the spring of 2022 with completion within about 15 months.

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4. Collaborative stadium project

Jamestown Public School District voters defeated a bond issue that included a new football stadium for the Blue Jays in 2018, prompting consideration of a joint football facility for the high school and the University of Jamestown. The stadium, now known as Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium, is a remodeled version of the former Taylor Stadium on the campus of the University of Jamestown and replaces Ernie Gates Field used by Jamestown High School.

uj football stadium work in the snow
Working crews endured the spring snow flurries Tuesday, April 13, 2021, while working on the football stadium project on the University of Jamestown campus. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Plans and fundraising were finalized in 2021. The project began at the end of the 2020 season with a deadline for completion by the start of the 2021 season.

The $11.7 million joint capital project enhanced the scoreboard, seating and installed artificial turf. A separate turf practice field was also installed at Jamestown High School.

5. Drought

The winter of 2020-2021 brought little snow to the region. That was followed by a very dry spring and summer producing one of the more severe droughts in the region's history.

By late summer, much of the region was classified as in an extreme drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor. One of the consequences of the dry conditions was the Jamestown Rural Fire Department responding to a record number of rural grass fires.

Other results of the drought included declining river and lake levels and diminished yields for some crops. Rains returned to the region in September and October.

6. Coronavirus

Vaccines have been available since early in 2021 although the area still struggled with COVID-19 infections. Capacity at Jamestown Regional Medical Center was challenged on occasions with increases in normal patient numbers compounded by COVID cases.

The peak number of active coronavirus cases in Stutsman County in 2021 was 146 on Dec. 1. There have been 92 deaths in Stutsman County attributed to COVID since the start of the pandemic.

7. Jamestown economy

A strong Jamestown economy outperformed the North Dakota economy in some ways through 2021. The second quarter of 2021 showed a 9.7% increase in taxable sales and purchases when compared to the pre-pandemic second quarter of 2019.

The state of North Dakota had a 6% decline in taxable sales and purchases during the same period. Jamestown leaders credited the strong showing to a diversified business economy in Jamestown and the surrounding area.

8. Meidinger Splash Pad

Recreational facilities in Jamestown got an addition when the Meidinger Splash Pad was dedicated in June. The facility is adjacent to the Two Rivers Activity Center and offered fun and wet outdoor activities through the summer.

Participants at the Shirley R. Meidinger Splash Park have water dumped on them during the opening of the facility. More than 12,000 people attended the Splash Park from June 5 to Sept. 6 with an average daily attendance of 113 people Keith Norman / The Sun

The Splash Pad cost about $2.3 million and was financed through donations and grants and is part of the second phase of construction for the Two Rivers Activity Center facility.

9. Eagle Flats

While tax incentives for a planned 33-unit low- to moderate-income housing development were approved in October 2019, demolition of an existing building on the site didn't begin until October 2021.

The project is continuing with project completion possible sometime in 2022.

10. Houweling Tomatoes

While originally announced in 2020, construction of a planned 30-acre greenhouse has been delayed. Current projections start work on the project in the summer of 2022. The project will be constructed adjacent to the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park and will acquire heat and carbon dioxide from the Dakota Spirit Ag Energy ethanol plant which is located within SEPA.

The volatile costs of materials have been an issue in the continuing planning of the project, according to Casey Houweling, owner of Houweling tomatoes.

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