Mandan News

YMCA deal still in the works

By Brian L. Gray

YMCA logoThe Mandan Park District is continuing its plan to acquire land in order to build a recreation center in Mandan, despite roadblocks that are forcing changes to its original plans.

The park district is teaming up with both the Bismarck YMCA and Sanford Health to get the plans in order, and Mandan Parks Director Cole Higlin said in the last few weeks plans have changed substantially.

The group made an offer to purchase a portion of the unused land immediately south of Raging Rivers, 7.25 acres, but the offer was rejected because an out of town private buyer has offered to buy the land. At this time, Higlin said, the buyer of the land is willing to work with the park district, which could include leasing the land to the district for a rec center to be built. But at this time, Higlin said, it’s too early in the preliminary stage for anything to be confirmed.,

“The project isn’t dead. It’s moving a little slow, but we’re working things out,” Higlin said. “The ultimate goal here is to get a recreation center to the community of Mandan.”

Park Board President Jason Arenz said that the YMCA has approached an architect to put together a conceptual drawing of the proposed rec center, which could be available in the next few weeks.

The park board will plan to hold a retreat to discuss the matter in more detail. At Monday’s regular board meeting each member gave an unofficial agreement that it is in favor of investing upwards of $500,000 for the potential rec center as part of its portion in the three-way deal.

Board commissioner Ann Keller said, “I’m really for this project, and have been for some time. With the growth in Mandan I think we owe it to our citizens. It would be wonderful for Mandan, but we need to make sure it’s done correctly.”

Board commissioner Kevin Allan said that it would be great to make the building as multi-functional as possible to tie in with as many user groups as possible, “so everybody can benefit from this building. But obviously there are limitations to what this can be, and what we can afford,” he said.