The city of Mandan has received a $3 million donation to update its downtown library and two parks, though more money is needed to fully fund the effort.
Mandan and Morton County officials on Tuesday announced the donation from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The donation will go toward improvements of the Morton Mandan Public Library and Dykshoorn and Heritage parks on Main Street. Though the scope of the project might change, tentative plans include a new library atrium, additional restrooms, window replacements and an area to house the bookmobile.
Other possible improvements include construction of a fence for the Main Street side of Dykshoorn Park and a pavilion in Heritage Park.
Mayor Tim Helbling said the donation will help revitalize the city's downtown area, coinciding with other city projects aimed at updating downtown.
"A donation is certainly going to go a long way to make our downtown more attractive and a more vibrant place," he said.
The donation comes after the monthslong protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and 2017. City Commissioner Scott Davis said in an interview he reached out to Energy Transfer Partners about a year ago to see if the company would be willing to give back to Mandan, which is where some demonstrations were held, and make a donation to downtown improvements.
"Even as contentious as it was during the construction, I always knew there was an opportunity of something they could do after the dust settles," Davis said. "I'm really happy for the city, for the community."
Chris Curia, executive vice president of human resources for Energy Transfer Partners, said Tuesday the company was "appreciative" of the support of city and county officials during the pipeline's construction.
"We believe strongly in the revitalization of the downtown area and seeing this place being somewhere people want to be," Curia said.
Helbling said improvements will allow the parks to be used year-round. The parks currently serve as a hub for community events such as Buggies-n-Blues and Art in the Park.
The total estimated cost for improvements to the library and the parks is $5 million to $6 million, according to Ellen Huber, Mandan's business development director.
Additional money will need to be secured from other community partners or the city might have to "trim the project back," she said. The goal is to have the renovations done within two years.