July 21, 2011

Is Underwood ready for another boom?

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Staff from Dickinson State University and Senator Kent Conrad’s office visited Underwood recently and posed the question, “Is Underwood ready for a boom?” The answer coming from the two that were present was “yes,” to a point. And Underwood could be a much more attractive option than some for those working in the energy field. John Hurlimann, director of the office of extended learning at DSU, said that a pad in Watford City, the heart of the oil boom, was going for $1,200 a month, apartments were going for $2,000 a month. “It is cheaper to rent a house in Malibu on the ocean,” he said. With Underwood apartments going for around $550 a month, it might be worth a drive to be here, surrounded by greener pastures, they reasoned. Energy development has been a factor in Underwood’s sustainability for many years, Underwood city auditor Diane Schell explained. When the first coal mines started up, people came. When the coal-fired plant started construction, many more came. The addition of an ethanol plant again brought further incentive for workers to live in and around Underwood.

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