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Posted 2/08/12 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

There is no one who will deny the fact that Watford City is rapidly changing and that in many aspects the community that we all knew 18 months ago has changed dramatically. Further, if you listen to the talk on the street or have had a chance to visit with some of the developers who are looking at making significant investments in this community in the coming years, you would realize that more and more changes are going to be coming.
With so many changes happening so quickly, one of the comments that is frequently heard is that Watford City is in peril of losing the small-town feel that residents and visitors to our community loved. And to a degree, with the city’s population projected to grow to 10,000 people in the next two years, there is a danger of the city losing some of its small town charm.
But rather than looking over our shoulders and wishing for things that once were, the more important questions that the people of Watford City need to be asking right now are, “What is our community going to look like in five or 10 years down the road?” And “What services/businesses would I like to see the community have if the city continues to grow and develop?” And “What improvements would make Watford City even a better place to live in the future?”
Those questions, if answered by every city resident, could help develop a road map that would turn this city into a place that we would all be proud to claim as home.
It was basically those questions that were asked of Watford City residents 11 years ago by the Watford City City Council. And the answers that the citizens of the city provided seemed utterly impossible at the time. We wanted to see a new Main Street, a new swimming pool, a visitor center and a children’s playground to name a few. And guess what, those dreams, and many more, all became a reality.
So what would happen if the residents of Watford City were asked to dream big again? Would we again identify the things we would most like to change and then work to make them a reality?
Watford City’s City Council is betting that the people of Watford City are up to the challenge. This week the city is starting a process by which your voices will be heard in helping to shape the city’s future and to help create a new vision for the city.
All that is asked of you initially is to spend approximately 15 minutes completing a Community Visioning Survey and returning it to City Hall. The survey is found in this week’s McKenzie County Farmer and is also online at the city’s web site www.watford.mckenziecounty.net.
Planning for a city’s growth and development into the future is a big task. It takes a progressive-thinking city council, which Watford City is very blessed to have. But the city council can’t do all of the planning in a vacuum. The council also needs to know what the residents and the business owners of the city think as well.
So do you share in helping create a new vision for Watford City. It will be an investment of your time that will pay huge dividends in the future of the city.