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Divide County may see population growth through 2029, study shows

Posted 9/27/16 (Tue)

By Cecile Wehrman
Local leaders struggling with declining oil revenue, wondering about school enrollments or just curious about future population trends will find some answers in a webinar delivered to Crosby on Oct. 5.
The program is sponsored by Vision West ND and will present the latest research from NDSU.
“They’re projecting close to 500 to 600 people in growth by 2029 in Divide County,” said KayCee Lindsey, community developer.
Lindsey heard those figures at a housing program in Williston last week, which previewed some of the same data that will be presented at the webinar.
By 2029, researchers believe, Divide County will top the 3,000 mark in population.
“So, that’s an increase of close to 25 percent,” Lindsey said, compared to 2014’s population estimate of 2432 people.
The webinar will provide new projections for population, housing needs, and workforce needs for Divide County.
According to a press release, Vision West ND worked with Dr. Nancy Hodur and Dean Bangsund from NDSU to conduct the new research and present the webinar. The webinar is an update to one that was originally produced in 2012 during the height of the oil boom in western North Dakota. 
“Legislators and local leaders have told us that the 2012 webinars were one of the best planning tools they had encountered,” said Daryl Dukart, Vision West ND chairman and Dunn County Commissioner. 
The changes in the oil industry have resulted in changes to the 2012 projections. 
The 2012 webinars left people asking many questions that hadn’t been answered. Does the workforce live and work in the same or different communities? What are the characteristics of the new workforce? Does our current available housing meet the needs of those who need housing? How many of the new residents actually work in the oil industry? The new research answers these questions.
A community viewing of the  webinar, sponsored by the Divide County Jobs Development Authority will be held at the Divide County Farmers Room (basement of the Courthouse) beginning at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Anyone interested in connecting to the webinar on their own may access it at the following URL: http://energizingentrepreneurs.adobeconnect.com/vision-west/. 
Once connected, click the “Enter as a Guest” option by typing in their name and clicking on “enter room.” 
All participants will be able to post comments and questions during the webinar. 
Vision West ND is a consortium of representatives of the 19 western oil, gas, and coal producing counties and interested organizations, agencies and businesses within those counties. The consortium’s priority areas are economic diversification, housing, child care, transportation, and infrastructure development. 
The projection webinars are commissioned by Vision West ND, with funding from the ND Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties and the ND Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office. All webinars will be recorded and will be available at www.visionwestnd.com/webinars by the end of October.