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The Missouri Valley Complex (fairgrounds) was purchased about 30 years ago.

In 2016 the county commission agreed to do a master plan on the complex. There were six meetings held and a web survey. These meetings and surveys indicated that the people of Burleigh County wanted the following:

A. A mountain bike trail for youth/beginners.

B. An enclosed park area with facilities to let children, families and pets play freely.

C. An enclosed arena for animals, ag shows and many events related to agriculture.

The intent was not to increase property taxes. The economic impact from sales taxes would impact the city, county and state.

In June 2017, the consultants for this project came to the county commission and informed the commission that there were no government-owned facilities in the region and the suggestion was to put together a local volunteer group to complete the market analysis. The volunteer group put together a group of possible users, mostly from the equine industry, and have visited many government-owned arenas in the region and are currently working on design, the cost of a plan, the number of weeks it would have to be rented to cash flow and development of fundraising. This will take time — maybe four or five years.

This volunteer group has and will continue to bring people knowledgeable in to talk about their time, money and design process. Today, two men from the Rapid City, S.D., area will make a presentation to the county commission on the arena and the profitability, economic impact and the explanation of the facility based on their experience in their county. Everyone is welcome to attend.

(Volunteers have traveled to many arenas in the region and the country. To date it has been at their personal expense. The county's money hasn't been spent.)

If  you have questions or comments, email me at

Kathleen Jones, Bismarck

Kathleen Jones is a Burleigh County commissioner.