Posted: Jun 18, 2012 8:44 AM by Dustin Klemann - MTN News
Updated: Jun 18, 2012 8:54 AM
WILLISTON, ND- The Bakken oil boom is arguably one of the most discussed topics continuing today with issues of violence and obscene amounts of money usually fill bylines and news stories.
But Williston, North Dakota and its surrounding areas are growing at such a rapid rate that town officials are collaborating on how to evolve the infrastructure. It is no secret oil field workers travel across the country and that can be seen in the area's acute housing shortage.
Companies like Target Logistics have constructed work camps for employees to live to try to combat the issue. Their campus gives workers a space to live and build a community among other colleagues. But camps of RVs still populate the Sydney and Williston areas.
Housing isn't the only obstacle the town needs to deal with as the Williston area is still in a state of flux. They outgrew their proverbial rural clothes but they aren't in search of a new identity.
The average salary for oil field workers is $71,000, but Williston is receiving only .01% of the revenue generated by the oil fields. Crowley Fleck Attorney Garth Sjue says there are other pressing issues that need to be addressed.
"Daycare, housing, another problem is we don't have a lot of people to fill service industry jobs."
There are plenty of challenges ahead. For example, surrounding businesses need to be creative to assert themselves in the local economy. Williston's infrastructure is a work in progress and analysts say the town three to five years away from stabilizing.
Sanderson Stewart Chairman Rick Leuthold says this oil boom is still an opportunity of a life time. " It's unique; it's something we've never seen in history before and it takes some broad, big thinking...think as big as you can and grasp the challenges there and you'll be very successful."