BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Tourism plays an essential role in bringing revenue into North Dakota.

On Tuesday night, a brief background of the Riverfront partnership project was presented to city commissioners.

Back in 2021, North Dakota Tourism notified Fort Lincoln Foundation that they were awarded a $250,000 planning grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce. And in January 2022, the partnership planning officially kicked off.

Since the grant was awarded, a project team has worked hard to develop a riverfront concept that would bring to life a more accessible, inclusive, and marketable riverfront in the area.

“Our organization’s mission is to help connect residents and visitors to heritage tourism and education along the Missouri River in central North Dakota,” explained the Missouri Valley Heritage Alliance’s Executive Director, Aaron Barth. “That includes our grand city of Bismarck.”

The Heritage Alliance’s plan would use the riverfront as an engine for the tourism industry, and a tool for regional workforce attraction and retention. Many believe that the area is our greatest asset and one that needs to be embraced fully.

“Over the last year we have spoken to over 70 stockholders,” explained Principal Landscape Architect, Jack Axtman. “We’ve brought them together through various input meetings, sat them down, and asked what’s missing from our community — as well as what we can use.”

Many wanted more attractions in the area — and the Riverfront partnership project presented three game-changing projects to fit the need.

“The first one is an amphitheater,” stated Axtman. “The next is a riverfront festival ground, and the third is a hotel.”

For the festival ground, the group feels like the best location would be Keelboat Park. The area would be used for community events and community celebrations.

The Riverfront Amphitheater would be built on a hillside southwest of the MDU Community Bowl overlooking the Missouri River.

And the hotel would be immediately adjacent to Steamboat Park, just south of the existing railroad bridge.

According to those with the Riverfront Project, all of these additions would help benefit the community and increase potential tourism by taking advance of the beauty the Missouri River has to offer.

Landscape Architecture 

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Christina Randall