Devils Lake Park Board hosts community forum to gain opinion toward family fun center

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Instead of hockey pucks and ice skaters, Quentin N. Burdick Sports Arena housed sticky tabs and more than two dozen community members Thursday evening. 

The Devils Lake Park Board hosted a community forum at Quentin N. Burdick Sports Arena on July 28 to gain insight toward a potential family fun center.

The Devils Lake Park Board hosted a community forum at the ice rink on July 28. The forum allowed community members and the Devils Lake Park Board to voice their opinion on future facilities and activities that could go into a family fun center. 

Potential renovations to the former 30,000+ square-foot Leevers Foods location off Frontage Road could help serve the purpose in creating the family fun center. After 60.91% of the vote during the 2022 North Dakota Primary Election came in favor of a sales tax increase, financial generation of potentially more than $400,000 annually could help make such an idea a reality.

According to Devils Lake Park Board Vice President Kale Stromme, the July 28 forum was a preliminary first step toward gauging what the community potentially wants from such a facility. 

“Well, it’s all going to take time,” Stromme said after the meeting. “We have a sales tax committee that we try to meet with as often as we can, but it’s all moving parts. You have the [Devils Lake] Park Board probably making the final decision, but we are trying to gauge what the community wants through the sales tax committee, which has people from all realms of the city…So, we try to get somebody from all realms of the community involved with it so they can touch their circles and stuff like that.” 

After a brief presentation from Stromme, community members “voted” on potential ideas through green, orange and yellow-colored sticky tabs, signifying their first, second and third choices, respectively. Popular options included an indoor pool, indoor playground, movie theater and bowling facility. 

Ideas for a family fun center in Devils Lake included an indoor playground, bowling facility, indoor pool, movie theater, multi-sport simulators, walking track and pickleball court.

“Well, the biggest thing is we just really want the community to get out and tell us what they feel the needs of the community are,” Stromme said. “So, that’s why we have these boards up here, where people can vote for their favorite family activities, whether it is in the family fun center or for future facilities down the road. We really want to get input.” 

Stromme will look to receive future input from more community members, including the youth. Additional outreach through social media and future forums will give Stromme a more concrete idea of what could work best for the future family fun center. 

While the process might only be just starting, Stromme believes the wheels are starting to gear into motion. 

“I think we are going to continue that input, whether it is through social media with Facebook or whatever,” Stromme said. “We want to do some ‘Back to School Night’ stuff where we can kind of get a good idea of what the youth really want to see in the community, too, so that’s the other aspect, I guess.” 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.