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Hettinger County, North Dakota

“The toughest part of my job was that my arm got tired from waving all day,” explains the newly-hired sheriff’s deputy as he describes the nature of the people in Hettinger County.  The people of Hettinger County North Dakota match the friendliness that has characterized the people from throughout the state as the nation’s best natured citizens.

The people of our  county are dedicated to maintain this sense of community in an emerging era that will likely finally reverse the population loss we have  continuously  experienced since 1930.  While the impacts of the fast-growing oil industry are primarily affecting counties to the north, there is growing  potential for oil production in and near our county.  If that potential is realized, it is very likely that  an era of job growth and significant challenges to infrastructure development would begin.

For Hettinger County, this new era would bring  the first real economic growth since 1930 other than  the two oil industry job spikes in the 1950s and late 1970s.  Uniting the people of our e county through this strategic planning process to focus on economic diversification strategies and quality-of-life initiatives is the key to maintaining short-term livability and achieving long-term economic balance. We must be prepared for the new demands such an era would place on us.

A unique opportunity we have is for our county to build upon the 20-year quest of one of our  citizens to build and promote the Enchanted Highway.   This series of whimsical, much-larger-than-life metal art structures is unique in the nation, and ends in Regent where a new Enchanted Castle is now greeting visitors for overnight stays.

This strategic plan complements efforts of Hettinger County and its cities to update local land use codes to shape the upcoming era of job growth and economic revitalization.  As we focus  on housing development, day care facilities and support for public safety and emergency services, we will do what is needed to ensure a positive future  for our  friendly county with its hand-waving citizens.

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