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Posted 6/14/16 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

For the past eight years, the possibility of expanding Watford City’s Fox Hills Golf Course to an 18-hole complex has generated a fair amount of positive and negative discussion.
The proponents of the expansion project say that an 18-hole golf course will be an attraction to Watford City and improve the quality of life for city residents. They also make a valid point that the existing nine-hole course, with the population increase that Watford City has seen, can’t adequately handle all of the golfers that want to play a round of golf.
Opponents to the expansion have argued that it is better to spend the money to make the existing nine holes a quality golf course, and they fear that the increased annual dues associated with an 18-hole course will result in the loss of golfers.
Like in all discussions, both sides have very valid points.
But the bottom line for most people, whether they are golfers or not is, “how do we come up with money to convert Watford City’s golf course into an 18-hole course?”
With a price tag of around $8 million to complete the two phases of the expansion project, the financial concerns have been, and continue to be, real concerns. But with the help of the city, which pledged $1 million over the next two years, as well as the efforts of the non-profit group, the Watford City Community Builders, it appears that the funding for the first phase of the project is now a reality.
And that is just another example of the way the people of Watford City get projects done that ultimately greatly improve the quality of life for its citizens. When the city’s economic conditions were probably at its worst back in the 1980s and early 1990s, volunteers undertook building an indoor hockey building, a new  high school was built, the city developed a plan to redo the city’s Main Street, the city and the county partnered to build the Veterans Memorial Building and new county library. And with the help of the Watford City Community Benefit Association, the Long X Visitor Center was constructed.
But Watford City’s vision to build a bigger and better community for the future didn’t end there. In the past two decades, thanks to that forward thinking, a Children’s Playground was built on Main Street, the Wild West Water Park became a reality, the American Legion baseball field received a complete makeover, and the Watford City Fishing Pond was opened.
Today, with the new high school open, the Event Center scheduled to open this fall, and construction on a new healthcare facility set to begin, one only has to look around the city and see how those investments have made Watford City a shining example of how a small community gets things done.
At the time that each and every one of the above mentioned projects was being planned, there was a concern that there wasn’t enough money to get the projects built. But somehow, we found the money. It took creative thinking and creative financing to accomplish these projects that have made Watford City a great place to live and work.
Today, we can’t imagine what our city would be like without the recreation, education and community facilities that we so wisely invested in when money was tight.
And when the 18-hole golf course expansion project is finally done, it will be just another example of Watford City’s “can do” approach of getting things built that will be an asset for city residents, as well as an attraction that will draw new people to our community.