ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

RYAN BAKKEN: Thompson still 'slice of heaven' despite loss of gravel streets

THOMPSON, N.D. -- Stereotypes of my residence of the past 23 years are chiseled in granite. Bedroom community. Speed trap. Gravel streets. Yes, Thompson still is inhabited mostly by people who work in Grand Forks. And, yes, you don't want to brea...

Ryan Bakken
Ryan Bakken

THOMPSON, N.D. -- Stereotypes of my residence of the past 23 years are chiseled in granite.

Bedroom community. Speed trap. Gravel streets.

Yes, Thompson still is inhabited mostly by people who work in Grand Forks. And, yes, you don't want to break the speed limit because you'll get collared. The speed trap is our version of economic development.

But, get out the sander to remove the third stereotype from the granite. By the end of this year, approximately two-thirds of Thompson's roadways will be paved.

What I have called "our dusty slice of heaven" will not become dust-free, but the air will be less cloudy. Dustin "Dusty" Thompson, a 2005 high school graduate (really, I'm not making him up), will no longer be the town mascot.

ADVERTISEMENT

This paving momentum started two years ago, when residents of the newest section of town banded together and initiated paved streets for their area. This proved to be contagious as two other areas also petitioned to create a paving district, with approval well above the required 51 percent. That work will be done this summer.

This was in sharp contrast to about 10 years ago, when an effort to pave all of the streets ended in defeat, with a deeply divided town and acrimony all around. After that unfortunate episode, the City Council vowed not to initiate paving projects and instead wait for the homeowners to propose it.

"It was the right project at the right time," Thompson Mayor Karyn Hippen said about the springboard paving project.

"Thompson is a small community with a small-town feel and has never been one to have to be over the top in what it does. Therefore, I think the previous citywide proposed project of concrete, curb and gutter, storm sewer, etc., might have just seemed too grand for our small town.

"The community seems more comfortable keeping the 'country section' feel to their roadways and that's why it seems the blacktop surfacing and the (existing) culvert system for our storm water runoff seems to be the best fit."

Yes, the project has to be right. And the timing has to be right. The two factors have found their crossroads. And the crossroads are paved.

That leaves intact our other two stereotypes, which I'm happy to embrace.

A bedroom community? You bet. It's the best of both worlds, being 15 minutes from big-city amenities, yet still having all the benefits of small town living.

ADVERTISEMENT

A speed trap? I'm proud of that, too. Don't come storming through our town and run over our kids. Unlike records, laws are not made to be broken.

So, Thompson may no longer be dusty, but it's still a slice of heaven.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send email to rbakken@gfherald.com .

What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT