I first came to Dickinson, North Dakota, in 2011. I had a home and a business in another state, but business was bad in that state. I wanted, and needed, to make more money. I lived in Dickinson for eight months. I returned to Dickinson in 2013, and have now been here for sixteen months.
I wanted to express some of my thoughts about Dickinson. If you are from out of state and living in Dickinson, many of you will know exactly what I am talking about, when you read them. If you are from Dickinson and have lived here most of your life, some of the things that I say might not have been apparent to you.
If you are living in a different state and are considering moving to North Dakota, I would like to caution you. Several times in my life, I have moved to another state to start over. The things that you go through, such as finding a place to live, finding a job, getting your driver’s license changed, getting your vehicle registration changed, meeting new people, finding things to do, it is not the same in North Dakota.
Unfortunately, the information that you get from an official city website does not really describe what living in that city is like, and the Chamber of Commerce website will also try to present a city in a completely positive manner. In the past, I have been cursing mad, when I have come to find out that an area I had moved to had something that “I wished somebody had told me about.”
To start this blog off, I will list some positive things about Dickinson, North Dakota, and some negative things.
- Dickinson has a nice recreation center, called the West River Community Center. It has an indoor pool, indoor tennis courts, indoor basketball courts, a weight area, rock climbing wall, and a few more things. It is open to everyone for a moderate daily fee, or a fairly low priced membership.
- Right in Dickinson, there is a lake, called Patterson Lake, that is nice to visit. Approximately seventy percent of the perimeter of the lake is undeveloped and is available for walking or cooking out. It is open to everyone, and in the summer there is a small daily fee.
- There are more jobs openings in Dickinson right now than you will find in other cities.
- The cost of housing in Dickinson is so high, that even if you are well paid, the cost of housing could easily take fifty percent or more of your take home pay.
- Your opportunity for recreation and socializing is extremely limited. Dickinson is cold for about seven months out of the year, during these cold months, you will not want to spend a lot of time outdoors. You might want to enjoy having some drinks at a bar or restaurant, meeting people, talking to people, but it is not safe to do this in Dickinson, because you will soon get a DUI. I am in my 40s, and never in my life have I seen normal adult socializing crushed more than the DUI process in Dickinson, arrest first, test blood alcohol level later, post bail, $3,000 to attorney, probably dismissal if your BAC was below .08 to begin with. This has never happened to me, but it has happened to so many people that I know, and I have seen the police doing this, that it is too dangerous to go to bars in Dickinson.
- There are way more men in Dickinson than women. There is a shortage of women in Dickinson. There is such a shortage of women in Dickinson, that the good looking house wives in Dickinson have to hide, and try to get their shopping and errands done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. before the men get off work. I lived in Dickinson for over a year thinking that there were only ugly women in Dickinson, until one day, I went to the grocery store at 4:30 p.m., and there they were! very good looking women! I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t figure out what was happening, they had been hiding all along!
The most important thing that I can say to those of you who are living in a different state, is that if you are thinking about coming here, the cheapest one bedroom apartment that you can find will probably be about $1,500 per month, a two bedroom apartment will be about $2,000 to $3,000 per month. Most of the job openings in Dickinson will pay about $15 per hour. Most of the people in Dickinson that I have met, worked with, lived with, have made between $12 to $22 per hour. Some of the highest paid people that I have met, a union electrician who worked a lot one year made $90,000, and a drill rig boss that I met probably made a little over $100,000. I have personally met at least five truck drivers working here that were broke, due to not being paid at all or being poorly paid.