Tag Archives: what is Dickinson North Dakota Like

Businesses Closing In Dickinson, North Dakota

I want for everyone, local people, people from out of state, and people who are considering moving to Dickinson, North Dakota, to know what is going on here.  The oil boom is over in North Dakota, it was over by the end of 2014.  Since then, everything has become less busy with each passing month in Dickinson, North Dakota.

During the morning work rush hours in Dickinson, 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., traffic is not heavy.  From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., traffic is very light.  After 8:00 p.m. in Dickinson, the streets are almost empty.  After 8:00 p.m., there are only three to six people in each of the downtown bars on a week night.  After 8:00 p.m., it is the same thing in each of the grocery stores, only about three to six customers.

Outside of town in the industrial areas, there are many commercial buildings and warehouses that have become vacant.  In town, there are many commercial and retail spaces that have become vacant.

The Sears store has sold most of its inventory, there is hardly anything left in the store, and they are permanently closing in just a few days.  The Family Fare grocery store on highway 22 is closing in just a few days, much of their inventory is already gone.

In downtown Dickinson, there are two family owned businesses that were very rude to me, and several other people that I have spoken to.  I spent about $500 at one business, and about $1,000 at the other business, yet the owners were shitty with me when I came to their stores to buy more equipment.  I enjoy driving by their stores now at various times throughout the day, and I see that they have zero customers.

I am not going to list every tenant from every retail, commercial, and industrial building in Dickinson that has left, because it would take too long and it would be difficult to include every one.  In general, in buildings where there are five or more tenants, it has gone from one vacancy, to two, then three, and so on as the months have passed in Dickinson.  What I want for people to understand, is that more and more business will continue to close in Dickinson.

I have had a couple of discussions recently with two men who are my age, late forties, who have lived and worked all over the United States, who came to Dickinson right when the oil boom began in 2007.  They lived and worked through the housing shortage, and the worker shortage in Dickinson.  One of these men is an electrician who has had his hours reduced more and more, as other workers are let go.  One of these men is a roustabout foreman who has had his wage rate reduced by $7 per hour, as other workers are let go.  Both of these men admit to there being a scarcity of jobs right now, and every indication that things will get much worse in employment.

All three of us, do not like it when uninformed people in the area say things like, “Things are starting to pick up again.”, “The drill rig count is up.”, “Its starting to turn around now.”, and “People are going back to work now.”  These statements are absolutely not true, although the drill rig count may go up from time to time.  It is not helping anyone to give them false information, it is actually harming many people.

There are many people who have reduced work, have lost their jobs, or have been unable to get a job, who should do everything they can to plan on leaving North Dakota.  They need to look into what things are like in Minneapolis, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, what kind of job can they get there, where can they live, and how are they going to get there.

It is about to get cold again in North Dakota, and there will be a winter work slow down.  It is wrong, and it is harmful to mislead people who have lost their job or who have not been able to get a job, into believing that if they wait here, the oil field is getting ready to pick up again, it’s not.

It would actually be better for everyone in Dickinson to know and to say, “The oil field is not going to pick up any time soon.  More people will probably lose their jobs.  It’s time for people to start thinking about where else they could live, and where else they might go to earn a living.  It is not going to be good to encourage people to stay in Dickinson, there will end up being many unemployed people in Dickinson if some of these people don’t try to go someplace else.”

Drug Addiction And Homeless Women In Dickinson, North Dakota

In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about meeting a drug addicted, homeless girl in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I offered to give her a ride to go get something to eat, and she accepted.  On the way to Wendy’s I asked her if she wanted me to take her to a women’s shelter.  She didn’t want to go to a women’s shelter.  I believed that it was a combination of outstanding warrants, and still wanting to use drugs, that made her not want to go to the women’s shelter.

This young lady was very pretty.  She wasn’t able to stay mentally focused, or keep her mind and thoughts on track.  I believed that she was possibly currently high, and that drugs probably were to blame for her mental disorientation.  After she was done eating, I dropped her off right back where I picked her up, just across the street from the low rent apartment building where I live.  She was going to go back to her hiding spot somewhere outdooors to spend the night, so I gave her my black hooded sweatshirt and $10.

The following day, which is today, I had to go do some self-employed construction work that I had scheduled for Tuesday morning.  The work went more quickly than I expected, for once.  I was almost half way through with my work by 11:00 a.m. when it began to rain too hard for me to continue.  I packed up my equipment and I went back to my apartment.

Last night, this morning when I was getting ready for work, when I was driving to work, and when I was working, I was thinking about that homeless girl.  I was glad that it started raining, that I could go home, and that I could look up and call the womens’ shelters.  I looked through my guide to Dickinson, North Dakota booklet, and I could only find the domestic abuse shelter listing.

I called the domestic abuse shelter, and they did in fact admit homeless women.  I explained that the homeless girl that I met did not want me to take her to the women’s shelter partly because of outstanding warrants, and her current drug addiction.  The women’s shelter said that they don’t turn women in to law enforcement, but they would have to asses any woman who came to the shelter to see what kind of help she needed.

I went looking for the homeless girl that I met, and I thought that it would be miraculous if I found her.  After about twenty minutes of driving around my neighborhood, I couldn’t find her.  I thought that she was probably in someone’s apartment or house getting high.  I gave up looking for the time being, maybe I would see her walking around in the evening.

I was hungry and I had been thinking about getting a club sandwich at the Paragon diner, so that is where I headed.  As I was driving west on Villard, I saw some person sitting down on the curb behind a bank building.  I made a right turn into the parking lot and it was her.  I said that I was going to the Paragon to eat, did she want to come, and she did.

She was tired, tired looking, and probably not high at the moment.  She said that she slept outside last night, and that it had been cold.  I told her about the women’s shelter, and they said that they wouldn’t turn her over to the police or anything.  She said that she had been given the women’s shelter address a couple of hours ago.

After we were done eating, she didn’t want to go to the women’s shelter, she wanted to go to her probation officer, then she didn’t want to go her probation officer.  There was quite a delay and drive around, because she kept changing her mind.  She was scared to go to both her probation officer, and the women’s shelter.

Finally, near the women’s shelter, I had to call them because the directions she had been given were unclear, or she was trying to not find it.  When I drove up outside, she wouldn’t go in.  I was trying to coax her and negotiate with her to just meet these people, but she wouldn’t go in.  I was trying to reason with her that she didn’t want to sleep outside again in the cold and the rain, but she wouldn’t go in.  Finally, I said to her that now that she knows where it is, she can go there if she needed to.  Then I dropped her off at her probation officer downtown.

I called the women who I had now spoken to twice at the women’s shelter, and I explained that she was too scared to go in.  They said they knew, they saw us parked outside.  I said that maybe she will come back tonight when she gets cold.  I gave what information I had about her, so that they would know who she was, and let her in.

What I didn’t write about yesterday in much detail was who this person was.  I am not going to blab too much about the details of her life, but I did ask questions to try to get a picture of who she was, to get many pieces of a puzzle.  What I learned about her yesterday, and what I learned about her today, I tried to make sense of it, to put it all together.

Like most attractive women, she was being a little difficult.  On the way to go get something to eat when she was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything, she was better behaved.  After she was done eating, she acted like a typical attractive woman.  She would say, “What? What’s up?  Why are you smiling?”  I would answer, “I like you, you’re pretty.”  She would say, “There are all kinds of pretty women, thousands of them.  You are going to have to find some other reason to like me, that’s not a good reason.  I have all kinds of other reasons for people to like me.  You guys are all the same, I’m pretty.”

I said, “O.K., I admire you because you told me that you won the state championship in high school tennis.  I practiced tennis every day for years in Florida, and I never made it very far in even the district preliminary tournaments.  I am envious of you, I am jealous of you, that is something to be proud of , I would be proud of that, I would brag about that.”

Anyway, knowing her first name, and that she won the high school tennis championship in the state where she came from, I was able to look her up on the internet, and I saw her picture in the newspaper, it was her.  This was quite an accomplishment.  She must have been super athletic and super coordinated.

She had a mom, dad, sister, family, childhood, played sports, and she was good in sports.  I think that she might have said once to me very quickly that she played sports in college.  This is really a terrible thing that the course of life events has taken this beautiful young lady away from her family, friends, people who care about her, to where she is broke, unemployable, drug addicted, and homeless in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Picking Up A Drug Addict Homeless Girl In Dickinson, North Dakota

In a very recent previous blog post I wrote about how I recently moved into a low rent apartment in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Among the things that I described, I wrote about the drug activity in the apartment building where I live.  I didn’t describe everything, I left some things out.

About one week ago, very early on a Sunday morning, I saw a red haired young lady between about 16 years old to 24 years old walking down the sidewalk in the neighborhood where I now live, carrying one piece of luggage.  It looked to me like she had just been kicked out of wherever she had been living.  I was riding my bicycle, and I wanted to ask her “What’s going on?”, but I saw that there were two police cars parked where she had just come from.  I could guess what was going on, she had probably just been forcibly removed from where she had been living.

I really don’t need to become involved with a mentally ill, drug addicted young lady, who someone else could not handle.  I don’t need to be stabbed in my sleep, have my wallet stolen, and my vehicle stolen.  This is about the second or third time recently that I have seen young women get kicked out onto the street in my neighborhood, with nothing except a small piece of luggage.

This evening, as I was working on something out at my vehicle, I noticed a person with a backpack walking down the street.  When they were on the sidewalk across the street from me, they asked me if I was from Idaho, what part of Idaho, and if I was going back to Idaho.  The person was kind of hard to understand.  It was a fairly young person, and a female.  This person was kind of mixed up, and I could tell that things were not right with this person.

I was getting ready to go to the grocery store, but I decided to ask this person if they wanted a ride.  I asked the person, and they said O.K.  This person got in my vehicle.  She was anywhere from 17 to 28 years old, I couldn’t really tell.  She was about 5′-9″, and 100 lbs.  I could tell from the smell of this person, that she was homeless.  It was not the smell of body odor, but the smell of garbage.

I told her that I was just going to go to McDonalds or Wendy’s, did she want anything.  She said that she didn’t have any money.  She was trying to be polite and apologetic.  I said that that was O.K.  As I was driving north and chatting with her, I asked her if she was homeless and she said that she was.  I explained to her that there were several women’s shelters in Dickinson, that after she ate, I could telephone a shelter if she wanted me to.  She asked me what the shelters were like, and I told her that I thought they were pretty nice.

She was very, very pretty, even though I was guessing that she hadn’t bathed or changed clothes in a week.  That is saying something about having natural beauty, sleeping in a dumpster and still being very good looking.  It had been raining pretty hard the last couple of days, and I think that she smelled like garbage because she had been sleeping in a dumpster.

Mentally, she was very messed up.  I didn’t know if she was currently high, if drugs had ruined her mind, or if she had always been mentally messed up from birth.  I started to believe that most of her mental problems were drug related because she seemed to be street smart and have street survival instincts.  I began to think that she was at least 20 years old, but probably not older than 26.

She did not want to be taken to a women’s shelter.  I think this was because she had outstanding warrants, and she wanted to continue to use drugs.  I offered to take her to a young lady that I know who went through everything she was going through, homelessness and drug addiction, who completed rehab and was O.K. now, but she didn’t want me to take her there either.

We went through the drive thru at Wendys and we each got something to eat.  I talked to her some more and offered her a couple more suggestions.  She just wanted to continue to sleep in the bushes she said.

I dropped her off right back where we started from, and I gave her $10 and my black hooded sweatshirt.  Two drug user/drug dealer guys who recently got kicked out of their apartment in the building where I live were parked right behind me.  This homeless young lady got out of my vehicle, and she started trying to talk to them, I figured that she would, I suppose to try to get drugs.  They didn’t want to have anything to do with her, at the moment.

I don’t think that this young lady will ever be O.K.  Any involvement that I have with her will or could lead to me getting charged with possession of drugs/drug paraphernalia from her being in my vehicle, or theft of my wallet, money, credit cards, checks, laptops, firearms, equipment, vehicles, or me getting stabbed, or me getting HIV, hepatitis, or some other disease.  However, you must remember, there is a shortage of women in Dickinson, and a scarcity of attractive women.

Living In A Low Rent Apartment In Dickinson, North Dakota

This winter in Dickinson was kind of unpleasant for me.  My work was not busy in Dickinson, and I was not making very much money.  I would have liked to have tried to make the best of it, to read, write blog posts, watch movies, go to the West River Community Center, and socialize with people.

The person who owned the house where I had been living for the past three years in Dickinson was having his own problems.  No job, shortage of money, poor physical health, no friends, depression, and mental problems.  With no job, he would get up late, not get dressed, and sit in the living room all day.  With not very much money, no friends, and no place to go, he would start drinking in the afternoon, which made his physical and mental health even worse.

In the past I had been a caregiver for disabled and terminally ill adults for two years.  My current living situation was much more unpleasant and far more depressing than the two years that I spent doing this for a living, because now I couldn’t go home and get away from it and have some peace and quiet.  Nor could I invite anyone over to the house.

When I got hired to work at a second job in June, I told my room mate that I had to be at work at 4:00 a.m. in the morning.  My room mate stayed out in the living all night ranting and talking to himself, like a crazy person, making it hard for me to get any sleep.  When I was getting ready for work at about 3:00 a.m., he was still ranting and talking to himself, muttering comments that were directed at me.

With the two jobs that I now had, I could demonstrate to a landlord or property manager that I had enough income to rent an apartment.  I wanted the least expensive apartment that I could get.  I did not know if I would stay in Dickinson, and I did not know how my new job was going to work out, so I did not want to get on a lease for an expensive apartment.

The property manager that I met did me a favor, and they rented to me a very nice two-bedroom apartment in an older building for not very much money.  When I had been living at the house north of Dickinson, I had had two extra trucks, and two equipment trailers, which was what had been preventing me from renting an apartment.  Things got so bad at the house, that I finally accepted that I was going to have to rent a separate location to keep my extra trucks and trailers, and move into an apartment.

I hadn’t lived in an apartment for fifteen years.  I had sworn that I would never ever live in an apartment again.  But here I was, not only was I back in an apartment, I was in a low rent apartment.  The common hallways had a very strong odor of ethnic cooking, from India Indians, Africans, Hispanics, and Asians.  The odor was not present in the apartment, thank God.

The residents who were immigrants from Africa were fairly friendly and polite.  The India Indians and the Asians I hardly ever see.  The Hispanics are somewhat noisy in the parking lot, and on the way to and from their apartments.

The American blacks have the irritating and annoying habit of playing ghetto music too loud in their vehicles when they are coming, going, and parked in the parking lot.  The white trash are aggravating in that they honk their car horns in the parking lot at any time of the day or night, and screech their tires when they come and leave.

There is a lot of drug activity.  There are about three apartments where they are dealing drugs.  You can smell marijuana smoke all day throughout the building.  There are all different kinds of poor people that are coming and going throughout the day, who are not residents of the building.  Some apartments typically have five guests every night.  Some guests are in a stoned stupor.  Some guests go crazy and start yelling.

The police have been to this building at least twice this week.  The young lady that the police took away today, I have been hearing her yelling for the past several days.  When the police came to get her, she began beating her head against the wall, and then beating her head against the police car in attempt to injure herself.  She was yelling at the police that she was going to get them fired.  Inside the back of the police car, she was kicking the partition behind the police officers’ heads as hard as she could trying to break it.

I am surprised that I have not gotten into any trouble yet here where I live.  There is a lot of trouble going around here.  People arguing in the parking lot over parking spaces.  Boyfriend-girlfriend squabbles.  Room mate arguments.  People slamming doors, playing the television too loud, video games too loud, stereos too loud.  People complaining to their neighbors about the noise.  Drug fiends on the premises throughout the night.

I kind of don’t even care.  There is just one thing that I am worried about, and I don’t want to write what it is, because then someone will do it.  I have had plenty of time to think about it, and none of the things that I described above are the property owner’s or the property manager’s fault.  This is just what poor people do and how they behave.  They can’t evict 70% of the tenants.

There are about twenty other apartment buildings just like this one in Dickinson.  In these twenty apartment buildings, I would estimate that only about 10% to 15% of the residents are from Dickinson.  I believe that these poor people mostly come from Idaho, Washington, Michigan, Minneapolis, Rapid City, and Sioux City.

There are very, very few job openings in Dickinson right now.  I believe 100% that I made a very good decision in renting the least expensive apartment that I could find.  I am making very little money right now, and I only have a small chance of getting a well paying job anywhere in North Dakota now.  Even if I began making $5,000 per month or more for quite a while, I would still probably stay in this apartment because of the uncertainty of what is going to happen in North Dakota.

Second Criticism Of Local Companies In Dickinson, Nepotism

In my previous blog post I explained that when I first came to Dickinson, North Dakota in 2011 to work in the oil field, one of the problems that I saw in company management, was the failure to properly delegate work.  Existing companies could not keep up with the demand for work partly because owners and managers could not see or understand that they needed to delegate work to competent people in order to be able to handle the increased demand for work.  The second big problem that I saw was nepotism, the hiring of relatives and friends.

I will try to get right to the point, whenever I have worked at a company where the owners or managers hire relatives and friends, everyone else suffers and pays for it.  Ultimately, it costs the company tremendously, if it doesn’t cause the ruin of the company altogether, which I have seen happen, in Dickinson.

First, is it a good idea to hire someone for a position at a company, if you know that they would not ever be hired for a similar position at any other company, or that you would never hire them if they were not a relative or friend?  How could this ever be a good idea, to hire someone that you know is not capable of doing the job?

I experienced this at one of my first jobs out of college.  The owner of the company that I was working for, hired his much less capable brother to manage the estimating department.  In compiling estimates, it is most important to not leave anything out, and to total the costs as completely and accurately as possible.  The owner’s brother would waste everyone’s time with daily memos on the new required font type for weekly reports, who was required to use green marker pen, red marker pen, blue marker pen in making comments, who was in trouble for not using the most recent new required font type, etcetera.  After a while of causing problems and causing work to have to be repeatedly re-done in the estimating department, the owner’s brother was put in charge of the sales representatives instead.  He drove the sales reps up the wall, causing some of them to quit.  Eventually the owner’s brother irritated the owner himself so bad, that he had to let him go, but not before he had irritated and upset everyone at the company, causing more than several people to quit.

The hiring of relatives and friends of the owners and managers has occurred at every company that I have worked for in Dickinson.   The third company that I worked for in Dickinson, this caused the failure of the company.  When I first started working for this company in May of 2013, the company had a lot of intelligent, competent, skilled technicians and workers.  The main company that we performed work for, liked all of the technicians and workers because of their intelligence, ability, and work performance.  But then, the owners of the company hired one young lady who was a niece, and one young lady as a favor to a friend.

Neither of these two young ladies had any construction experience whatsoever.  Not even hammering a nail or digging a hole with a shovel.  Some of the technicians and workers who had been working in construction for ten years or more resented this.  Several of the best technicians left soon after these two young ladies were hired.  They resented that they were being paid within a few dollars of what they were making, that they weren’t any help, that they would have to show them how to do every single thing, and that they were not interested in construction, only the opportunity to get paid a lot of money by being present on the job.

The company owners’ response to several lead technicians quitting within a few weeks, was to move their niece right up to driving the service truck and taking the lead.  The company that we did the work for did not like this, nor the did the end users.  It was obvious to everyone that the twenty year old niece had never done any kind of construction whatsoever, and that this was not an acceptable replacement.

At this same time, the second young lady that was hired, she came to work with the crotch of her jeans missing, a hole about the size of a dinner plate.  I figured she was going to try to have some kind of sexual harassment claim if anyone said anything to her.  The company that we did the work for, several of their employees complained to the owners of my company about this.  What is wrong with her, and do not ever have her come to work for us like this again.  The work that had already been awarded to the company I was working for was completed, and they never got any more work awarded to them, ever.

The most recent company that I worked for in Dickinson, the effects of hiring relatives and friends was very noticeable.  There were people in management positions that probably never would have been placed in a management position at any other company.  There were people that were hired, that would not have been hired most other places.  There were people working there, that would have been let go a long time ago anywhere else.

The net overall effect of all these relatives and friends working there was very bad.  There were areas of responsibility that no one was taking responsibility for, or even paying attention to.  There were people not showing up for work, without any preparations having been made to cover their absence.  No one was very concerned about anything, because they were not in fear of losing their jobs.

This most recent company that I worked for in Dickinson, I have seen the very beginning signs of bankruptcy, and I think that this will become common knowledge within about one year.  The failure of this company might not have occurred if the owner would have hired experienced managers with degrees in business administration, accounting, economics, finance, or construction management, instead of relatives and friends with little experience and no business education.

Criticism Of Local Companies In Dickinson, Failure To Properly Delegate

Ever since I first came to Dickinson, North Dakota in 2011 to work in the oil field, I noticed that the local Dickinson companies had a strange and different way of doing things.  I will start out by giving the following brief example.

During my first month of working for an oil field service company in Dickinson, the manager of the company would come out to the job site to operate a crane.  During the rigging, lifting, positioning, and connecting of very heavy steel, the manager would routinely answer his telephone and talk on the telephone while operating the crane.  This should have never, ever happened.

When I was about 27 years old working for a tunneling company, it was explained to me that I could not talk to the tunneling machine operator while he was working. This was explained to me by the crane operator, who was in charge.  The crane operator explained other operator positions where the operator could not talk while working, sometimes mandated by law, such as the elevator operator in mining, because of the loss of life that could occur if the operator was distracted.

This oil field service company that I was working for in Dickinson, had one of the highest injury rates.  And, while I was working there, this manager did have an “at-fault” operator error while operating the crane that caused a significant injury.  Then my co-workers discussed aloud, “Maybe we should hire a crane operator, to just operate the crane.”

Although the manager of this oil field service company was knowledgeable, hardworking, honest, and fair, he wasn’t “managing” very well.  Prior to the oil boom that began in 2007 in North Dakota, this oil field service company had much less work, and fewer employees.  Prior to the oil boom, this company did not have enough calls for work, to require this manager to stay in the office all day.  To maintain profitability, this manager also performed work in the oil field.

Now in 2011, this manager needed to stay in the office all day, and deal with the customer calls that came in.  No more going out into the oil field and working.  There was a wait list or backlog of work, where work requests that were called in, could not be gotten to for six to eight weeks.  This company needed to expand, but it didn’t.

One of the reasons why this oil field service company did not expand was because the company owners and the manager did not see or understand how to delegate work properly.  The manager could no longer receive from the workers every request they had for a tire, wrench, hydraulic hose, grease fitting, leaf spring, lifting strap, bolt, belt, etcetera; go look up every one of these parts in a catalog; place the order for every one of these parts; receive telephone calls from the work crews explaining and describing their problems;  think about, solve, and explain problem solutions to the work crews; and receive telephone call work requests from every customer describing their problems and what they want done.  This was too much work for one person to do, and too much work for one person to do well and handle completely.

The manager needed to have someone serve as “field superintendent”, “project manager” or “operations manager”.  The easiest way to do this in the case of this oil field service company, would have been to appoint one of the most knowledgeable and competent workers that they already had working there.  Out of several possible candidates, the decision might have come down to how easily that particular person could be replaced on their work crew.

The “field superintendent” could then take over the responsibility of assigning work orders to the work crews, making sure that they had proper instructions, material, and equipment, and receiving all the telephone calls about problems from the work crews.  The manager then could have handled all calls from customers requesting work, discussions with the company owners, purchasing additional or new equipment, hiring, counseling, and firing workers.

This particular oil field service company never expanded, and its wait list and backlog of work increased.  The oil companies like Continental, Marathon, Occidental, and Whiting needed to have their work done more quickly than this.  Other existing oil field service companies had similar problems to the ones that I just described above.

In Dickinson, out of nowhere and overnight, the two oil field service companies Titan Oil Field Service and SM Fencing & Energy Services were formed by owners in their twenties, and they quickly grew to where they each had over fifty employees and millions of dollars in equipment.  The reason for their creation and their rapid growth was that the existing oil field service companies in Dickinson could not keep up with the demand for work.

Downtown Dickinson Preservation And Revitalization

In my previous blog post titled “Downtown Dickinson Association Seeking Executive Director” where I offered some proposals for downtown Dickinson, some of my ideas were better than others.  I should not be a nuisance to the Downtown Dickinson Association.  I should be helpful and supportive because what they are doing will make Dickinson a better place to live.

If you didn’t think very much about it, and jumped to conclusions, you might think that the Downtown Dickinson Association seeks to gain attention for downtown Dickinson in order to bring customers to businesses and tenants to the property owners.  Yes, it does do that, this is part of the plan.  A healthy and attractive downtown benefits all of Dickinson in many ways, not just the downtown business owners and property owners.

In most cities and towns that have grown, shopping centers and shopping malls were built beyond the old sections of town.  With one massive multi-acre parking lot, people would park their car, enter the shopping center or mall, and walk from store to store.  Later, without people really noticing, Wal-Mart and Target began to replace the shopping centers and the malls, because people could buy everything very cheaply inside just one store.

The shopping centers, shopping malls, and Wal-Mart are very formatted and controlled according to what corporations want.  There are no shade tress, benches, or tables outside, because they do not want their parking lots to be comfortable, attractive, and appealing.  They want there to be nothing in their parking lots to distract, delay, entertain, or amuse their customers, such as a shady spot or comfortable spot where customers going in, might meet and talk to their friends coming out.

Inside the shopping centers, malls, and Wal-Mart, there are aisles and lanes for shoppers, that are not really conducive to stopping, standing still, or sitting.  There are designated food courts, that are minimal, and not very comfortable.  The shopping environment is very controlled with bright lighting, generic music, neutral decor, standardized layout, uniformed employees, and store rules.

Shopping centers, malls, and Wal-Mart have their purpose, which is to get in, buy as much as you can, and get out, quickly.  I don’t enjoy going to shopping malls or Wal-Mart, because they have the barren no-mans land parking lots, and inside they are somewhat bland, generic, dull, uninteresting, crowded, and full of stressed out people who are in a hurry.

As cities and towns grow and expand, there are more and more chain or franchise restaurants that are owned by corporations, shopping centers that are owned by corporations, and apartment communities that are owned by corporations.  All these corporation owned restaurants, shopping centers, and apartment communities look the same, and are built the same.  To minimize costs, for ease of construction, for ease of maintenance, standardized accounting and management, lease-ability and re-sale ability, everything is built the same.

A relief from the monotony and drudgery of everything looking the same and being the same, the barren parking lots of the shopping centers and Wal-Mart, are the old downtown historic areas.  Where every house and yard is different from the one next to it in a thousand different ways, every building is different, and every city block is different.  A variety of different businesses, professionals, and services.  Wealthy homes, middle class homes, lower middle class homes, all mixed together.  Old people, middle aged people, families, and children all mixed together.

In downtown Dickinson, the residential neighborhoods surround the schools, churches, municipal buildings, and gradually give way to the businesses in the center of town.  Traffic is not bad downtown, and it is very pleasant to walk or bicycle in the old historic section of town.  It is an oasis of green with many kinds of large tall trees, hedges, shrubs, flowers, and lawns.  Home to many birds, squirrels, and cats.

In the afternoon the downtown bars and restaurants open.  Most of them have seating and tables outside on the broad sidewalks.  There are many attractive women who work downtown, you can go and look at them, and leave them money.

In the Spring, Summer, and Fall there are outdoor events and concerts in downtown Dickinson.  There are a few locations that have enough space inside to host events and live music in the Winter.

Downtown Dickinson is the most social area of Dickinson due to the blending of residential, municipal, business, bars, restaurants, events, and concerts.  All kinds of people, every type of person comes downtown.  It is the Downtown Dickinson Association that is not just promoting the businesses and the property downtown, but it is also preserving the character and social aspect of downtown Dickinson.