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A new shelter and basketball court are part of improvements in Coleharbor. Funding has also been received for new playground equipment which is expected to be installed in early 2023. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
A new shelter and basketball court are part of improvements in Coleharbor. Funding has also been received for new playground equipment which is expected to be installed in early 2023. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

Improving a Community

Kim Fundingsland
 October 10, 2022
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Coleharbor playground, clean-up 

COLEHARBOR – This community’s ongoing effort to improve “curb appeal” continues to move forward. The latest improvement project is an updated playground and picnic area. New basketball courts too. 

“It’s an upgrade to our park which was originally built in 1975. There’s been no major improvements or renovations since then. It was time,” said Mayor Heith Pochant. 

The aging basketball court now has new concrete, backboards, and was moved to make room for new playground equipment. The park in the city center all boasts a new shelter too, bigger than the old one that was in disrepair and torn down. 

“Playground equipment is very, very expensive,” said Pochant. “It was pretty shocking when we first went to look, but now we’ve got the funds. I’m guessing it’ll be more than likely installed next spring.” 

The estimated cost of replacing the old playground equipment, which the city’s insurance agency deemed unsafe for use, was $93,840. The small community situated on U.S. Highway 83 mid-way between Minot and Bismarck sought grant money to make the project a reality and found it. 

The North Dakota Lands and Water Conservation Fund came through with nearly $52,000, the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District $23,460, and the state’s Outdoor Heritage Fund $10,000. Several smaller grants and donations made the project possible. 

“We had our hands tied with a lack of funds but now we’re ready to go,” said Pochant. “We trying to improve our town. We’ve been cleaning up our city for the last five years or so, getting rid of buildings that were in really bad shape. Right now, we’re upgrading our water system. The storage tanks and pumps were all 50 years old and getting obsolete.” 

The population of Coleharbor changes with the seasons. Full-time residents number about 60, but nearly doubles during the summer months. Coleharbor is close to Lake Audubon and Lake Sakakawea. 

“A lot of people come in the summer but don’t stay all year, so they don’t count as residents,” explained Pochant. “The number of water bills goes from about 35 in the winter to 50 in the summer.” 

A new look to the city’s park, general clean-up, upgraded water system – all contribute to Coleharbor’s growing appeal. 

 
“Absolutely,” said Pochant. “We’re trying to think positive and make improvements that are necessary, clean the town up and make it more attractive.” 

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