Feb 28 Downtowners E-Newsletter

The Downtowners’

City Center Newsletter

February 28, 2013

What You Will Find…

□ Bismarck Convention Center

□ Downtown Updates

□ Upcoming Events

□ Association News


Bismarck Convention Center

Facts vs Emotion Regarding Convention Addition…

If someone off the street asked you, “what’s your dream car?”  You may say something like a Bentley or a Hummer.  Now what if that question changed to, “what kind of car can you afford or what kind of car do you need?”  The answer for most of us would be vastly different.  Emotion versus fact is usually at odds when purchasing something, want versus need.  That is no different with the convention addition proposed for the Bismarck Civic Center to upgrade it to a Convention Center.

The Facts: In 2009 The City of Bismarck tasked Convention Sport & Leisure to study if the city should add on to the existing Civic Center or build elsewhere.  Fact: Adding on to the existing Civic Center was determined to be the best option.

In a follow up to that study the City then explored whether adding on to the existing Civic Center would create a return on investment for the citizens.  Fact: Yes, conventions keep people in town with overnight stays, creating time to shop and eat.  Concert goers just don’t spend the same amount in the community.

These studies also explored if Bismarck is big enough for a large Arena or if Bismarck is more suited for Conventions. Fact: Conventions created more Economic Impact in Bismarck, our market population and location do not attract routing concerts of size and frequency. (A “route” is where a promoter can plan multiple stops in large cities closer together or along their travel destinations).

Fact: The additional convention space would not require any tax increases.  It would be financed by our existing bed and booze tax.  Any new facility outside of the existing Bismarck Civic Center would require a combination of new public taxes.

Four years of professional study and our market size have told us Bismarck needs to add convention space to the existing Bismarck Civic Center.  These facts may not be sexy, but they are the reality of our city’s needs.

Emotion:  In this case it is emotional accepting the reality.  It may be hard to come to emotional terms with how concert promoters perceive a city of our size.  We are proud of our city and it can be hard to hear we don’t have the population for certain events or that we aren’t along a beneficial route.

Opportunities:  There are also opportunities for Bismarck, many silver linings to our size and location.   Our central location in the state offers Bismarck the chance to capitalize on conventions, which are large economic generators for our city.  The current Civic Center’s central location in the city gives everyone a chance to capitalize on convention spending, not just the mall and Downtown.  And the size of our city is just right for convention planners that want to be in walkable destinations that are easy for convention goers to navigate.  Let’s focus on the facts and our strengths.

Your Input: There are 3 meetings that Downtowners Association members can give input at.

1)     Thursday February 28, Business Stakeholders Input Session: 4-6pm Civic Center Room #105

2)     Monday March 4, Public Input Session: 5:30-7:30pm Horizon Middle School

3)     Tuesday March 5, Public Input Session: 5:30-7:30pm Watcher Middle School Cafetorium

This is your chance to get all the details and facts regarding the proposed addition.  Bismarck is poised to be a player in the area’s convention business, please attend the meeting to see how we can make this happen, while at the same time being responsible with taxpayer’s dollars.  Please contact the Downtowners if you have any questions and we’d be happy to chat with any member.  Come out and have your voice heard!


Downtown Updates

–The Cowan Bldg development continues on the corner of 4th and Broadway. The sidewalk in front of the building will be closed during construction (south side of the block).  The sidewalk could be open by June.

Quiet Rail Zones are moving forward at 3rd, 5th and 12th Streets in Downtown Bismarck.  At the Feb 26 City Commission meeting, the engineering firm SRF entered into their contract with the city to install the extra safety measures and work with the Federal Railway Administration.

–If you are considering a downtown development or renovation of a Downtown building, the CORE Incentive Programs are once again available through the City of Bismarck.  The CORE Programs currently active are Façade and Signage Grant, Housing Incentive Grant, Technical Assistance Bank, and Sidewalk Subsurface Infill.  The programs are designed to encourage reinvestment, rehabilitation, and new development in the Downtown area.  For more information contact the Downtowners or Jason Tomanek at the City of Bismarck at 701-355-1849.

— The Bismarck Parking Authority is offering free evening parking in the 3rd and Main Ramp from 4pm to 2am daily.  With all the new activity and nightlife in Downtown Bismarck, the ramps allow the public to enjoy the city center and not have to search for street parking.

How the After Hour Complementary Parking Works: Use the entrance to the 3rd & Main Ramp on 3rd Street.  Pull into the ramp and pull a time stamped ticket.  The arm will raise and allow the car through to park.  When exiting the ramp, simply use the hourly lane and deposit your ticket in the slot, the arm will already be raised to allow the cars to exit. There is no leeway on timing.  If you enter at 3:59pm or exit at 2:01am, the customer will be charged the normal hourly rate. 


Upcoming events

What’s Shakin Downtown…

Feb 25- Mar 1

Region 5 Basketball Tourney

Bismarck Civic Center



March 1

BDAC Artist Reception


222 N 4th St


March 1

BAGA Artist Recpetion




March 2

Dakota Air: The Radio Show

Belle Mehus



March 5

Jeff Dunham

Bismarck Civic Center



March 3

Bis-Man Symphony Presents:

Baroque Concert @ CHS



March 7-9

West Region Basketball Tourney

Bismarck Civic Center



March 14-24

Dakota Stage Presents:

The Spitfire Grill



Downtowners’ Association News

Organization and member news …

You can find all our member’s information at: www.downtownbismarck.com

Member Laughing Sun Brewing will be open seven days a week starting March 1.    Find them on Facebook to get the complete list of hours.

Member cedesigns & Yarn Shoppe continues to hold knitting classes.  If you’re interested talk with Cheri or visit her website www.cefiber.com.

Thank you to Member Dakota Community Bank and Trust for helping the Downtowners take down all the winter lights and banners!  Look at these big strong bankers!  Thanks guys- (We got to take them for a thank you pint!)


Please send all member business news and events to: kate@downtownbismarck.com.

Check the Downtown Business Association’s websites for updated news and events www.downtownbismarck.com or www.bismarckribfest.com.

Please forward this on to people interested in Downtown news!