Jamestown area decade in review

CHS site preparation work
Steel piles driven into the ground can be seen Wednesday at the site east of Spiritwood where CHS was planning to construct a fertilizer plant. CHS officials announced Wednesday the plant will not be built.
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A lot has happened in and around the city of Jamestown in the past decade. Here is a look at the top news stories for the last 10 years.


City of Jamestown takes half of JSDC funding

Prior to March 2010, all of the money collected from the city of Jamestown’s 1% sales tax was used for economic development through the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

That changed when the city changed its ordinance and retained half of the 1% for infrastructure construction and maintenance in Jamestown.

At the time, Jamestown also had a 1% sales tax to repay the bonds used to construct Jamestown High School and remodel Jamestown Middle School.


The Jamestown City Council added to its sales tax collections with an additional half-percent sales tax for city infrastructure and the operations and maintenance of the Jamestown Civic Center that went into effect. Jan. 1, 2020.


Completion of two major construction projects

Construction was completed in the summer on the $52 million Jamestown Regional Medical Center located west of Jamestown along Interstate 94. The new hospital location allowed more opportunity for expansion and is an upgrade from the previous facility.

JRMC has since added a clinic building and the JRMC Cancer Center to the facility.

Planning and construction had already been a long process when Spiritwood Station, a new coal-fired electrical generating and industrial steam plant, was also completed in 2011.

Then the plant was put in mothballs for more than three years due to a lack of electrical demand.

Even after the delay, the $425 million project became the first new coal-powered electrical generating plant to go online in North Dakota in more than 30 years when it began operations in 2014.


CHS announces plans for fertilizer plant


CHS Inc. announced early in 2012 plans to build a $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in the Spiritwood Energy Park located about 10 miles east of Jamestown by the second half of 2016.

The plant was expected to take natural gas and convert it into anhydrous ammonia.

“To the folks of Jamestown and Stutsman County — a big congratulations. You’ve hit the big one,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple, R-N.D., said when the plant was announced on Sept. 12.

The CHS plant was expected to employ 100 to 150 people once fully operational. Up to 2,000 people were expected to work on the project during construction.

The population of Jamestown and the surrounding area was expected to swell during work and following completion of the project.


Dakota Spirit AgEnergy breaks ground

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy broke ground in August although actual construction was anticipated to begin in January 2014. The cost of the plant, located adjacent to Spiritwood Station and within the Spiritwood Energy Park Association rail loop at Spiritwood, N.D., was estimated at about $155 million. The ethanol plant would employ about 36 people when completed, according to Greg Ridderbusch, vice president of business development and strategy for Great River Energy.

Completion of the grain handling facility was planned to coincide with the 2014 corn harvest, and the ethanol processing plant was expected to be completed in 2015.


The ethanol plant uses steam energy from GRE’s Spiritwood Station coal-fired generating plant. Spiritwood Station, idle since construction was completed in 2011, was brought online as Dakota Spirit AgEnergy was completed.


CHS announces construction plans

CHS officially announced construction of a $3 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant at Spiritwood. The planned plant was called the largest project CHS had ever undertaken and was also considered the largest construction project in North Dakota history.

Planning for the plant began in September 2012 and the original price tag was $1.2 billion. CHS President and Chief Operating Officer Carl Casale said much of the price increase was due to the cost of labor and the competition with oil field companies for specialized workers.

While no groundbreaking date was set, the plant was planned for a 640-acre plot in east Spiritwood Township. Construction was expected to take about three years and require approximately 1,300 workers. The plant was expected to be operational in the first half of 2018 and employ at least 180 people with an average salary of $85,000.

The plant was designed to produce 2,400 metric tons of fertilizer a day, which would have been available to area farmers.


CHS decides not to build fertilizer plant

For 35 months the talk in Jamestown had been the nitrogen fertilizer plant CHS was planning to construct in Spiritwood Township.

The possibility of the plant's construction ended on Aug. 12, when Carl Casale, CHS president and CEO, announced the company was moving in a different direction and would not build the plant in North Dakota. Casale said the project had grown in cost from an estimated $1.2 billion in September 2012 when it was first announced to $3.3 billion in August 2015.

Instead, CHS invested $2.8 billion in CF Industries, an existing nitrogen fertilizer manufacturer. The decision came after years of planning by state and local officials to accommodate the plant. The North Dakota Legislature provided $70 million in funding for a water reuse plant and a study of a possible pipeline to bring Missouri River water to the area to meet the needs of the plant. Stutsman County had negotiated a 20-year agreement offering tax incentives to CHS if the plant had been constructed.

The announcement came as a blow to community leaders.

“This is not a game stopper,” said Connie Ova, Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. CEO. “It is a chance for the Jamestown and Stutsman County community to attempt to catch up with the shortages of workforce, housing, child care and infrastructure.”


Troske sentenced for murder, attempted murder

David Troske, 52, pleaded guilty to murdering Donald “Donnie” Perleberg, 41, and the attempted murder of Mary Seiler, 51, on Sept. 28 in Southeast District Court in Jamestown.

Around 1 a.m. on Sept. 6, 2015, Troske approached a table where Perleberg and Seiler were sitting from behind in the New Rockford Eagles Club and shot them.

Troske was sentenced Dec. 15 in New Rockford to serve up to 29 years in prison for murder and up to 20 years in prison for attempted murder, with the sentences to be served concurrently.


Soybean plant announces plans

Minnesota Soybean Processors announced in February plans to construct a $245 million soybean crushing and processing plant at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park.

The company was in the process of an equity drive with a $40 million goal to match a $60 million investment by Minnesota Soybean Processors as well as negotiating with partners.

Plans at the time called for a possible groundbreaking ceremony in the spring of 2018 although problems acquiring investors continued to plague the project.


Death of Tyr Lange

The news broke on Friday afternoon, July 5, that a woman had been found wandering near Woodworth. Justice Lange, 25, Carrington, was first taken to the home of a relative and then to a hospital. Further investigation showed she had been missing for nine days and her 4-month-old son Tyr was missing.

A search began the afternoon of July 6 for the baby but without success. Officers from multiple agencies returned to the Woodworth area on July 7 and recovered the body of Tyr Lange near a slough in the afternoon. An autopsy listed the baby’s cause of death as “starvation and environmental exposure due to caretaker neglect.”

Lange pleaded guilty to the charges of negligent homicide and child neglect and was sentenced to 12 years in the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2019.


North Dakota Soybean Processors

Ever since the announcement by Minnesota Soybean Processors of plans for a soybean processing plant at Spiritwood in 2017, the community had hoped to see groundbreaking and the start of construction. Financing issues continued to delay the project.

Hopes for the project unraveled when the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and Spiritwood Energy Park Association, a partnership between the JSDC and Great River Energy, terminated its agreement with the Soybean Processors on July 25. At the same time, SEPA announced it was entering into a development agreement with "Company X," which was later identified in court documents as Archer Daniels Midland.

North Dakota Soybean Processors sought and received a temporary restraining order prohibiting SEPA from negotiating with other companies. That restraining order was lifted on Sept. 12 although a lawsuit between the Soybean Processors and SEPA is still proceeding. Company X is still doing preliminary planning and has a non-disclosure agreement with SEPA and the JSDC that expires in January.

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy
Dakota Spirit, an ethanol plant, is located in the Spiritwood Industrial Park north of Interstate 94 and about ten miles east of Jamestown. John M. Steiner / The Sun

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