Dilworth looks into private-public partnership for recreation facility

The project could also involve a community center in the developing Rail District.

Dilworth downtown
The city of Dilworth's downtown.
Forum file photo
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DILWORTH — Dilworth's City Council has approved hiring a consultant to look into the possibility of a private-public partnership for a new recreation facility in the growing town of about 5,000.

A private development group that helped construct two strip malls in the booming east side of Dilworth has been working with city officials on the proposed partnership.

Lance Ziebarth of Ziebarth Construction, along with his partners in OZ Development, were at a recent Dilworth City Council meeting to offer support for the plan to hire a firm to provide technical assistance on determining the financial and operating aspects of the project.

Mayor Chad Olson said they are asking for proposals from companies "to guide us" in the process.

He was obviously excited about the project in an interview with The Forum on Tuesday, May 24, and said it would be a "game-changer for the city" to have a private partner.


He said the scope of the project and the location would be determined after public input, but the initial plan is to build it in an open field just east of the two strip malls in the new commercial Rail District on the city's eastern fringe.

"We're taking it one step at a time," Olson said about the process.

City Administrator Peyton Mastera said the public-private partnership in Dilworth would be similar to those in other metro communities such as the Kilbourne Group's work in downtown Fargo, the Roers Development Company's partnership with Moorhead in redeveloping the downtown mall area and Epic Companies work in downtown West Fargo.

Olson and Mastera said with the new fire station at the site of the city's community center on the west side of town, they are looking at having community space in the new facility, too.

He said he didn't know exactly what the overall offerings might look like but said they could include an indoor walking track and playground along with basketball and volleyball courts.

With the city's aging outdoor municipal pool, he said, a new pool could also be a part of the conversation down the road if room is left for expansion.

The study will come first, and Mastera emphasized that residents will be asked for input.

Among the potential concepts is the suggestion of a nonprofit board to oversee the facility.


Other options are to have the facility turned over to the city in the future or to have the city sign a long-term lease with the developer for the recreational space.

The city's part-time community development director, Don Lorsung, has been working on developing initial plans with other city officials and the developers.

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