While 2016 was a slower year for some, for others, it has been just as busy as in the past few years. 2016 has seen more single family home sales YTD than in 2015, for example, and new residential and new commercial permits are up slightly over 2015. This community continues to grow and therefore continues to need good infrastructure and planning around it. Williams County and the city of Williston have been busy working on an updated Regional Plan. The population has tripled since the existing plans (put in place in 2010) and even their not so optimistic projections still puts the population at ~42,000 in 2040 (within city limits). There is also a transportation plan to address future travel demand complete with a list of improvement projects needed – short and long term. In November, there was an open house on these plans which had been refined after public input.
In much the same way, there will be a chance for you to give your input on the way the Sloulin Airport Field will eventually be redeveloped. This unique opportunity may seem years away since the new airport isn’t set to open until 2019, but in terms of planning, it’s the right time to collect data from the public which will be included in the concept proposed to the city. You have a chance to weigh in on what your community will look like! Make sure to get out your 2017 calendars and mark the dates for public input – February 22nd, June 7th, and September 20th (location and times TBD). The opportunity for an available 850 acres in the middle of a city is an extremely rare one and is one the city is considering carefully. It warrants community input for realistic yet innovative planning. You take out what you need to add the infrastructure you still have about 650 acres which is vital to plan for: something iconic or historic, something driven by the market, economically diverse and complementary to existing businesses, yet financially viable.
The buzz around town before the blizzard slowed us all down was one of excitement – the energetic feeling was almost palpable. As 2016 comes to a close, I hope all of you have had a great year – in one way shape or form! Looking forward to 2017, I wish you and your business all the best. Keep checking back with your chamber to stay informed and engaged. Our online calendar will have all the up to date information on meetings and events. This is a great growing community and I’m grateful you are a part of it!