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New year looking up for small city’s residents

After a busy 2016, Bismarck Mayor Seth Radford said the city government intends to continue giving back to its residents this year in the form of a number of infrastructure growth and other improvements.

“Like we’ve said the last couple of years, we’re wanting to give back tax dollars to our citizens,” he said. “That’s our biggest goal. We want to fix and update the city’s water, sewer and gas systems. We’re going to be doing a lot of structural work like sidewalks and we have a couple of streets we’re going to be looking at. All of this is going to be done without raising any taxes or rates.”

According to Radford, the city is in the process of forming a new committee that will research future infrastructure projects.

“Right out of the gate, the committee will include members of planning and zoning, the fire department, police department, board of aldermen, the city administrator and myself,” he said. “We’re going to formulate a 10-year plan to grow the system, again, without placing a financial burden on our citizens. We have the money in place now to grow the city’s infrastructure with the big goal being to attract news businesses and housing to our town.

“That’s one thing that I’m going to be actively pursuing — looking for housing contractors and developers for apartment units and things like that. I’m going to be putting my efforts into convincing them that Bismarck is a great place for them to build. We have a lot to offer at a third of the cost of the communities around us. We have some good property to offer. We have good people.

“Our building commission is already in the process of either fixing or condemning and tearing down three buildings and there’s a couple of other properties I’m going to be evaluating with our building inspector in the future.

“So, as we take down some of the eyesores and fix the city’s infrastructure, we want to offer good rates so that people can be able to build. We want to be able to provide good housing for all age groups — people with families, retirees, the elderly … everybody. I think we’re going to be able to do that.”

Radford praised the town for its “low crime rate, top-notch school district and great residents” — each a reason why the mayor believes it is only a matter of time before Bismarck sees an increase in population growth.

“We have a couple of new businesses that have come to town — the L.I.F.E. Center being one of them,” he said. “There’s also the Tackle Box, so our business sector is growing. We’re going to have a bigger Dollar General coming in out there by the current one, which will also develop more land. That’s what we’re about. We’re growing. We’re in a growing phase.”

One of the city projects longest in the works is the construction of a sidewalk along a portion of Cedar Street to provide safe transit for the elderly, disabled and children who for years have had to risk their lives traversing the heavily-traveled road from outlying residential areas to the edge of town.

“The sidewalk project on Cedar Street is a definite go,” Radford said. “We’re just working with Union Pacific to tie up the loose ends on that. As soon as we get that straightened out, we’ll be finishing it up. The city has also been actively seeking money for some additional projects and we have some good things that we’re going to be discussing at our next city meeting.”

The mayor re-emphasized that all that has already been accomplished and that which will be accomplished in the future will be done without raising taxes on the citizenry.

“In my opinion, the citizens are paying enough,” Radford said. “We’re really working hard to grow the city without burdening them more. We’re putting their money towards making great things happen.”

“All of this is going to be done without raising any taxes or rates.” — Mayor Seth Radford

<span><p class=Bismarck Mayor Seth Radford points out the dangers faced by local senior adults and the disabled while walking down Cedar Street at a meeting held with state and federal officials. The construction of a new sidewalk, along with a number of infrastructure improvements, are part of the city’s master plan for 2017.” width=”800″ /> Bismarck Mayor Seth Radford points out the dangers faced by local senior adults and the disabled while walking down Cedar Street at a meeting held with state and federal officials. The construction of a new sidewalk, along with a number of infrastructure improvements, are part of the city’s master plan for 2017.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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