Striving to preserve and provide recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities while improving the quality of life for Mandan and its citizens is no small task, but Mandan Parks & Recreation has held up to that challenge. They pride themselves in offering great indoor and outdoor activities as well as programs and classes for all ages; that is proven evident with Mandan Parks & Recreation Director Cole Higlin.
Higlin mentions that over the last few years, Mandan Parks & Recreation has been heavily involved with three major projects within the city: construction of the sports complex, construction of the memorial ballpark and construction of the soccer complex. He says “Dakota Community Bank & Trust has been gracious donors to all of those facilities,” and goes on to credit all of their private partnerships that help these projects take shape. Continuing on, he states “We have completed almost 30 million dollars in construction in the last three years, so in the future we are going to be very conservative to build up our reserves.”
Perhaps the biggest change Mandan Parks & Recreation has made in recent years is the construction of a new universal playground that includes a variety of tactile, visual, and auditory experiences for all. The playground was designed considering people’s physical, sensory, social, communication and cognitive abilities. “It encompasses inclusions of all ages and abilities of kids to give them the ability to play. That was 100% fundraised through a chamber leadership group that the park district partnered with,” says Higlin.
Higlin recalls “I had parents call me stating ‘I have a 16 year old son that has never been able to play on playground equipment because it didn’t meet his needs for what disability he had.’ You don’t realize there are a lot of stresses in this world that parents go through with children and when they have a disability – it’s even more of a financial stress but also the friendship of trying to meet people and if we can give them time to come to the universal playground to forget about all their stresses, that is really what that playground has accomplished. It has given people the opportunity to play and recreate with many disabilities with the inclusion of people who don’t have disabilities. That was the ah-ha moment for me: when I realized there are parents that have kids that have never had this opportunity. That really opened my eyes up for the need within our community.” The multipurpose building and the universal playground is all ADA accessible, including the bathrooms, equipment and floor surface.
The Mandan Girls Soccer Booster Club’s (MGSBC) goal has been the fundraising and support of the high school and middle school Mandan Girls Soccer programs. So, as a collaborative effort with Mandan Public Schools, Mandan Parks & Recreation District, and Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T), the booster club set out to raise money for some additional structural necessities. “The soccer complex, when we were looking at trying to address different needs, Dakota Community Bank & Trust came forward. The complex is now called the Dakota Community Bank & Trust soccer field,” maintains Higlin.
Working closely with Mandan Public Schools, the University of Mary, groups from outside of Bismarck/Mandan, and others, Higlin also acknowledges the growth of the new sports complex. Stating that the facility that was initially thought to be used largely for football and track, has become the go-to hockey arena and a year-round activity center. “We didn’t anticipate as much growth and attendance to our activities. When we built this, we built it thinking we planned for the future as far as attendance and how much people would use the facilities, and we’ve already hit our goal for what we expected to hit.”
Higlin mentions that before the growth of the three new facilities “We were always limited to what we could bring to the citizens of Mandan. We were limited on space because we had so much of our own programming needs, high school spatial needs, and trying to bring tournaments in… There was no availability for space to put on events.”
“Dakota Community Bank & Trust sees the importance of what we provide to the community. They see how many people we touch, whether it’s the parents who are bringing the kids or the parents in our programs, is that they see the citywide benefit of what we provide – that quality of life for our citizens and they want to be a part of it – helping these facilities become even better than what they could have been. We have great partners at Dakota Community Bank & Trust, that allows us to help this private-public partnership to be able to create these things.”
Mandan Parks & Recreation offers recreational activities like basketball, volleyball, baseball, gymnastics, softball, swimming lessons, track, tennis, kickball and much more. Mandan Parks & Recreation also offers various programs: classes including school age care programs, art classes and more. Public funding, including taxes, along with private donations help to make sure Mandan Parks & Recreation is meeting the community’s needs now and in the future.
“We try to make sure our quality of our facilities meet your expectations. We may not have the quantity of facilities that larger communities have but we have a lot of nice things in our community that we can be proud of. For a community or size of 20,000 people you can find ways to recreate for all ages and abilities.” If you are a sports enthusiast or just want to have some fun with friends, Mandan Parks & Rec has many different indoor and outdoor activities for you: https://mandanparks.com/
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director