349% population growth for Watford City

Watford City's population has increased 349% since 2010 according to the recently released 2019 US Census Bureau estimates . Since 2010, Watford City's population has increased from 1,744 to 7,835. Other cities in McKenzie County include Alexander (population 375) which has experienced 68% growth and Arnegard (population 175) with 52% growth.
June Economy at a Glance

The June Economy at a Glance is now available.

Some data of note:
  • The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are being reflected in some of these numbers like McKenzie County's April unemployment rate of 9.1%, very similar to North Dakota's unemployment rate of 9.2%.

  • Watford City's sales tax distributions for May 2020 came in at $486,450--not that far off from May 2019 numbers of $503,541.
Six advance in McKenzie County Commission race

Out of a record 14 candidates, McKenzie County have selected six to advance to the November general election where three will be elected. Top vote getters include Tom McCabe, Joel Brown, Craig Hystad, Clint Wold, H Wayne Olson, and Jeremy Olson.

For City Council of Watford City, there will be no changes as the incumbents Matt Beard, Bethany Devlin, Kenneth Liebel and Heidi Brenna were all re-elected. For Alexander mayor Kenneth Wilcox has been re-elected as as well council members Wesley Peterson and Terrille Jacobson. Arnegard's City Council had Lowell Mosby and Richard Schreiber filling the two open seats; an unexpired term was also open with no named candidates so results are still outstanding on that.
Community sustainability plan completed

Input from over 500 community members and six roundtable discussions was condensed and formulated into the 2020-2024 Community Sustainability Plan for Watford City and McKenzie County .

The plan sets a vision for our community that focuses on diversifying our economy, high quality of life, and prioritization of collaboration and strategic growth. From that vision, the document spells out specific goals for housing, workforce, childcare, leadership development and support for vulnerable and aging populations.
Stenehjem recognized by ICBA

First International Bank & Trust (FIBT) President, S. Peter Stenehjem, is named among the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) annual 40 Under 40: Emerging Community Bank Leaders list . The award recognizes the nation’s up-and-coming community bank innovators and influencers representing the future of the industry. First International Bank & Trust is headquartered in McKenzie County with branches throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona.
Medora Musical to feature local actress

One of North Dakota favorite summer traditions--the Medora Musical --is set to kick off on June 19. Special for our community is that a cast member is one of our own. Jeanna Zenz, who grew up in Watford City, has been around the country with her career as a singer and actress, but will be spending the summer sharing her talents with the thousands who will attend the musical this summer. The outdoor amphitheater show nestled in the badlands runs nightly as an ode to patriotism, Theodore Roosevelt and the Great American West.
Return to the west virtual conference

About 10 years ago, members of the Greater Grand Forks Chamber visited western North Dakota to build and strengthen business relationships and learn more about the opportunities that are here. Well they have decided to do it again--this time virtually. Plans are in the works for there to be three virtual sessions. The first session will be held on June 24 and focus on community infrastructure; the second will be held on July 28 and focus on updates in the petroleum industry; and the third session will be on August 26 and focus on legislative issues. They will all run from 3:00-4:30pm CT. Register to attend by emailing info@gochamber.org. The sessions will also be broadcast via the Grand Forks Chamber's Facebook page .
Local safflower refinery feasibility study funded

The McKenzie County Job Development Authority (JDA) recently awarded funds to Safflower Technologies International for help in undertaking a feasibility study for a safflower refinery plant to be located in our area. The JDA continues to look for ways to diversify our economy and add value to crops that are grown by our farmers.
Watford Market plans to start in July

Watford Market is looking to start the season on July 30. The event features vendors of home-grown produce and home-made products, live music sponsored by the Long X Arts Foundation, $5 burger plates by the local Lions Club, other demonstrations and more. The event is held Thursdays from 5:30-7:30pm at the Kent Pelton Nature Park at 501 7th St SE, Watford City.
McKenzie County Sportsman's Club to open gun range

A new gun range is in the county and there will be an open house on June 20 from 10am-5pm to celebrate. It includes three rifle ranges, a trap range and pistol range and plans for more features in the near future. The facility is located south of the Highway 23 bypass by Watford City.
Community Connections

Want to learn more about life in McKenzie County? Find out what organizations exist? Seek out opportunities to volunteer and get involved? Ask questions and connect with others? Whether you are new to the community or you have lived here for decades, you're invited to an open house event that will be held at the Long X Visitors Center/Pioneer Museum on Tuesday, June 16th from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. A complimentary light lunch will be available. The Pioneer Museum is located at 100 2nd Ave SW, Watford City, ND.
Census responses

The 2020 US Census is still seeking responses. Western North Dakota communities have been lagging behind other communities in North Dakota in getting counted. Responses are easy at www.my2020census.gov or on the phone at 844-330-2020.