With 56 percent of the vote Mandan residents said yes to a three/quarter percent sales tax increase to pay for $22 million in new recreational facilities. The unofficial vote was 1,564 yes votes to 1,222 no votes, according to Mandan City Administrator Jim Neubauer.
The tax will be used to fund for a two-rink hockey arena, new gymnastics facility and new track and field at a sports complex in north Mandan and install ballfields at the Lefty Faris track and field in south Mandan.
The sports complex could be built in front of the Tesoro refinery near Highway 1806/Old Red Trail or west of the former Mandan Hospital near Sunset Drive. That decision will be based on costs, topography and potential to grow at the site.
"We're ecstatic,' said Cole Higlin, parks and recreation director. "We're extremely excited. We want to thank everyone who voted yes. I presented at 53 meetings on this in the last six weeks."
"This means having a safer, effective practice area," said Amanda Lantz, program director for the Dakota Star Gymnastics. Roof leaks at their existing facility at Mandan City Hall has damaged equipment and plumbing is inadequate to have drinking water there, she said. Because there are 100 steps to the balcony, elderly people cannot watch their grandchildren perform, she added. Foam from damaged mats had to be hung out to dry for several days.
Park Board President Jason Arenz said the next step is to choose an architect to do the final designs on the projects and name the location.
(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or email@example.com)