Business, housing, job and population growth are thriving in Bismarck and Mandan, according to their mayors who spoke Tuesday at the annual State of the Cities presentation at the Seven Seas Hotel and Water Park.

“It has just been an exciting year,” said Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek. “...We are growing on all sides of Mandan in the year 2013.”

He said there have been a total of 637 building permits issued in the city to date in 2013 — 152 single family units and eight new apartment projects (44 units or more each).

He said commercial and industrial permits continue to trend above Mandan’s 10-year average. “We have 17 new projects and 22 additions and remodels,” he said. The total value of all building projects is more than $134 million to date this year, already exceeding last year, according to Van Beek.

Van Beek said local sales tax collections are 16 percent of 2012, 8 percent to 9 percent ahead of 2012 even before Mandan’s Wal-Mart opened. He noted all the new developments in the northwest part of town.

He said the city continues to work on the downtown revitalization and said the diesel recovery in Mandan has been an important part of that.

Van Beek said business and housing development is occurring to the north, the south and downtown. A number of new restaurants will be added, he said. Increases in storefront incentive programs will help drive the downtown improvements, he said.

Bismarck Mayor John Warford said Bismarck has kept a self-sustaining economy for the past 10 years despite the recession. “We are recognized nationally.” He said it is a business friendly community, rated high as a place to retire and a great place for careers.

“We have more jobs, better-paying jobs,” Warford said. “If you don’t have the jobs, you don’t have economic development.”

According to Warford:

n Total Employment rose in Bismarck by 3 percent over August 2012 with 2,000 more jobs.

n Leisure and hospitality employment increased 4.6 percent compared to one year ago.

n Education/health services, and professional/business service jobs each rose by 3.9 percent compared to one year ago.

n Building permits for Bismarck in 2013 totaled 4,180 to date, according to Warford. These are valued at $291.5 million

n Warford said there are 103 approved Renaissance zone projects in Bismarck — 88 projects are completed.

n More than 55 new businesses are tied to Bismarck’s Renaissance zone. These created

400 jobs.

The program increased the buildings’ value in the Renaissance zone from $14.8 million to $32 million.

He estimated that the investment in the current and past Renaissance zone projects total $60.5 million.

Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or