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New Generations Park rink attendant, Scott Rings, walks to prepare the hockey rink at the new park in northwest Bismarck. In back is the recently completed Farwest Rotary Community Center.

Bismarck’s newest recreation facility, the Farwest Rotary Community Center in New Generations Park, was dedicated and opened to the public on Jan. 25.

The response has been fantastic, according to Bismarck Parks and Recreation Executive Director Randy Bina.

The $1.3 million community center is the culmination of a public-private endeavor which got its start in 2005 when the park district acquired 13 acres along Valley Drive in north Bismarck. At that time, it was the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals organization partnering with the park district to bring the park to fruition, providing labor to landscape and plant trees in the park. The park’s name, New Generations, is in honor of the Young Professionals organization. Phase one of the park’s master plan was completed in 2009 at a cost of $202,242.

For phase two of New Generations’ development, the Bismarck Far West Rotary teamed with the park district to make the Farwest Rotary Community Center a reality. The Rotary Club made a substantial contribution of labor and funding to the project of nearly $100,000. Along with the Rotary Club’s labor and funding the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District received a $550,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and another grant of $40,000 from the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District. The remainder of the community center was paid for with a BPRD matching grant and BPRD construction funds, Bina describes.

Features of New Generations include a community room with a capacity of 78 people, a preparation kitchen, tables and chairs and parking; two playgrounds; a shelter attached to the community center; walking trail; two ice rinks, once for hockey the other for pleasure skating; a sledding hill; and coming this spring a splash pad with a Wild West theme. The facility is well suited to host functions such as weddings and graduation parties. During the winter it is being used as a warming house for skaters.

“A project like this would be very difficult to complete without partners,” Bina says. “There’s been a lot of interest in the park. We dedicated the facility on Jan. 25 and started taking reservations on Jan. 28. I arrived to work early on the day reservations opened, about 6:45 a.m., and there were already people lined up at the door to sign up.”

To reserve the center it costs $100 a day or $75 for a half day, while the cost to rent the shelter is $45 for a full day and $28 for a half day.

Sheldon Kauk, Far West Rotary Club president, explains that Steve Neu, former BPRD executive director and Rotary Club member, was instrumental in getting the club to participate in the project.

“Steve is the one who brought the project to the club. At the time he was BPRD executive director and a member of our club,” Kauk says. “We’ve been involved with the project since about 2006. The club has about 33 members and we’re an active group. It’s been great to see all the work and planning come to fruition.”

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Reach Gordon Weixel at 701-250-8256 or Gordon.Weixel@bismarcktribune.com

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