The Mandan City Commission on Tuesday night delayed making a decision on whether to move forward with "The Railyard" concept for a proposed destination entertainment district.

At the May 15 meeting, Commissioner Shauna Laber had requested that public input be sought for ways to redevelop Mandan's West Main, particularly the former Central Market building that the city purchased last summer.

Citizens were given an opportunity at a public input meeting on May 29 and again Tuesday.

Among concerns voiced is the potential for the city to be competing against Mandan businesses that specialize in events, such as weddings and conventions. Insufficient parking was also mentioned, as well as a desire for the buildings to house private businesses that pay taxes.

Laber announced at Tuesday's meeting that she has found a retailer that would be interested in purchasing the former Central Market building.

"I reached out to a retailer … they’re very interested in speaking to us, regarding this," she said. "I think there are some additional opportunities for actual tax-based companies. I’m not sure we’ve kicked every rock over."

Mayor Tim Helbling asked Laber if she shared the name of the retail business with Ellen Huber, the city's business development director.

"I shared this with her portfolio holder," Laber said.

Helbling said he's not interested in continuing to kick the can down the road.

"It comes to a point where the city’s got to make some tough calls," he said. "Sometimes you have to listen to people who say, 'No, you can’t do it,' and believe in yourself, and believe in your community, and do it and turn some of this stuff around."

The commission plans to continue discussion at its June 19 meeting.

Reach Cheryl McCormack at 701-250-8264 or


General Assignment Reporter