The Beacon News
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Vision West plan heard at commission
By Chris Erickson
The Mercer County Commission received an informational visit last week from a Vision West representative who spoke about sustainable development and working with the county.
Vicki Steiner was on hand to inform the commissioners about recent work the organization had done, as well as its general outlook.
Currently Vision West is comprised of 19 western North Dakota counties, the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, four universities and colleges, two regional councils, the Rural Economic Partnership Fund, the SW REAP Zone and the N.D. Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties.
Steiner provided a summary of the organization’s structure and spoke first about a regional plan to move forward on a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“HUD wanted us to come up with a regional plan, but we decided that to get to the regional plan we’d do community plans first,” she said. “So we did a community plan here a couple years ago.”
According to Steiner, top issues throughout the region were child care, emergency services, housing, transportation and water. Drawing from her own experience on the water committee and purchasing a lot at the relatively recent Blue Water Ridge subdivision north of Zap, Steiner noted that in order to keep the state a place to stay further development along the lake would have to be addressed.
“We don’t have any new recreation areas coming for the brand new 250,000 people who moving to western North Dakota,” she said. “So as they come to Lake Sakakawea to go camping or go fishing, we basically have the same spots that we’ve had for many, many years.”