July 25, 2013

Vision West eyes 2015 legislative session

Vision West eyes 2015 legislative session
By Jerry W. Kram

It was a mixed group of community leaders, including mayors, city councilmen, county commissioners as well as some members of the general public who came to the RTC building in Parshall to learn about where the Bakken is going and what will be the oil boom’s impact on communities, the economy, roads, emergency services and how the State of North Dakota should respond.
Mark Resner is the chairman of the Vision West ND committee. He is also the economic development director for Adams County and Hettinger. The committee is funded by the state and some federal agencies to bring oil patch communities together to develop an agenda for the 2015 Legislative Session to help the cope with the impacts of oil development.
“Really what our goal is is to develop a strategic plan for sustainable communities,” Resner said. “The first problem in western North Dakota is to figure out what ‘sustainable’ is. Obviously we can’t sustain the frenzy we have experienced in the last five years, and I don’t think anyone would want to.”
Resner said the oil boom is going to bring growth to the region. The goal of the Vision West process is to make communities  able to make the choices that will allow them to have “smart growth.” He said the region needs a plan or a vision to have the kind of environment people want in 20 years.
“What do we want?” Resner asked. “We want pleasant communities. We want our families, we want our schools to prosper.”

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