Volume 126, Number
Progressive community of Maddock has four anchor points
BY ANDREA WINKJER COLLIN
North Dakota Horizons The words "progressive and vibrant" aren’t used to describe every small town. But they are a perfect fit for the community of Maddock.
"Just take a look at our vibrant Main Street!" says Debbie Tracy, the community development director for this prosperous community of 498 people located in Benson County.
The shops and businesses include mainstays like Farmers Union Oil, which has grown over the last few years. "It has made a significant impact on our economy," says Tracy. There’s also the bank, credit union, auto parts, auto repair, another gas station, second-hand store, hair salon, bakery, cafe with bowling lanes, drug store, grocery store, bar, funeral home, taxidermist, cabinet maker, nursing home and clinic, radio and TV repair, insurance agents, ag parts and equipment dealership and grain elevator. These are complemented by Maddock’s two city parks, a swimming pool, city museum, library, community center and airport.
In addition to these, four anchor businesses and facilities keep Maddock’s economy stable. It is the home of Summers Manufacturing, the Dryer Guy, a new multi-purpose center and the now-10-year-old tech center.
Since 1965, Summers Manufacturing has built a variety of farm implements, employing 61 in Maddock and additional workers at a Devils Lake plant. "We pull in workers from a wide area and offer good wages and benefits," says Larry Summers, who is now retired and whose father founded the business. "We do business with Russia, Canada and Kazahkstan, and for the past year it has been 100 percent employee-owned."
Mike Jelle is the genius behind the Dryer Guy, a $10 million business that has 11 full-time employees. "Mike came here 12 years ago to work at the credit union and is a former fishing guide," says Tracy. "Repairing and refurbishing existing grain dryers is something that not a lot of people do, and it has put Maddock on the map for this type of service."
His wife, Cindy, is remodeling a historic home that will include two bed and breakfast rooms.
When it opens in September, she plans to offer events for women that include quilt retreats and other activities for business and pleasure.
A combination of public funds and private donations from area residents made possible the opening of The Benson County Events Center (formerly known as the Maddock Multi-Purpose Building) four years ago. Lu Mathison, the president of the building’s operating board, points to the creative foresight by the town’s leaders, residents and businesses to bring it about. The rising water levels on Devils Lake forced the removal of the 4-H building in Minnewaukan, so the county was looking for proposals to locate a similar building somewhere else.
"We came up with a plan where the city owns the building, but a board manages it. Besides 4-H events, the school uses it for another gymnasium and the region uses it for other activities, such as indoor horse riding, farm shows, rodeos, wedding dances and receptions, annual meetings and fundraisers," says Mathison. The building was designed to have geothermal heat and Mathison says volunteers installed underground pipes for the system. "It’s environmentally friendly and economical to maintain." The gym also has a new acoustic sound system.
The events center was the location of a two-day rodeo during Maddock’s annual summer celebration July 4 and 5. Other events scheduled that weekend were a dance with a live band, food booths, games and a parade.
As another indication of how generous the Maddock community has been in supporting good projects like the events center a few years ago, Tracy says just recently donors contributed $88,000 toward new bleachers at the school. "Most of that money came from right here."
Other community groups, including the Active Women of Maddock, are behind many other efforts that have funded projects like an after-school activity program and improvements at the swimming pool.
Tracy says one of the turning points behind Maddock’s recent vitality is its participation in a Horizons community leadership program coordinated through the North Dakota State University Extension Service and the Northwest Area Foundation. During its 18-month involvement in the program, which was completed a year ago, residents participated in study circles and leadership training.
"My position as a community development director indicates how much the city leaders believe in keeping Maddock prosperous," she says. As its name implies, the primary purpose of the job, which has existed since January, is to promote the community. As an indication of the interest in this, Tracy says a community dinner in May brought together members of 40 Maddock businesses and organizations.
A similar push to revitalize the town 10 years ago provided the impetus for Maddock’s Tech Center. Looking back a decade, Mayor Rod Maddock credits local businessman Bruce Terpening with reactivating the Maddock Economic Development Corporation to deal with a vacant area on Main Street. "These people threw out a lot of ideas before they came up with the concept of a business incubator." Over the years, Maddock says the tech center has become a showcase for rural development focused on technology.
The attitude of Maddock residents has played a big part in the success of the town, "We take a great deal of pride in how our city looks," says City Auditor Pam Lee. Tracy says it’s people like Frank Mosser, who has been working for the city for 21 years who makes it possible. "Everyone knows Frank, and he has gone above and beyond what his job really entails to keep the city looking beautiful at all times."
The local grocer summed it up well when reflecting on the community. "Maddock has one of the most active Main Streets I’ve ever seen, and it’s because of the commitment and loyalty of Maddock’s residents and those in the surrounding area." And yet, Maddock’s leaders concur that these business successes would not have been sustained without the sense of community and the pride of the people who live there."We believe this vibrant spirit in our community will continue," says Tracy. "Our residents are committed to keep it going."
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of North Dakota Horizons Magazine, www.ndhorizons.com. It is reprinted with permission.
Maddock’s Main Street always seems to be busy. The town has a population estimated at 498.
Ambulance receives large grant
The Leeds Ambulance Service recently received a $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The funds will be used to purchase a new ambulance to provide emergency medical services to Benson County residents in their service area. On the right is Jim Helgeson, president of Bremer Bank in Devils Lake and Minnewaukan, making the presentation to Rio Himle of the Leeds Ambulance Service.
Now playing at NR
"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," featuring the music of Neal Sedaka is playing this summer at the Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford. Left to right are cast members Erin Markestad, Tyson Rost and Tony Peterson. Shows run Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. until August 16. Tickets can be reserved by calling 701-947-2174 or online at www.dprca.com. Other cast members are Peter Foss, Rachel Markestad and Megan Jury. Deb Belquist is the managing director.
Basketball camp participants
The Lions Basketball Camp was held at Leeds this summer. Young athletes from Minnewaukan, Leeds, Cando and Maddock participated in the instruction provided by Travis Risovi and Ron Carlson of Minnewaukan. Girls who participated were, left to right, back row, Mylie Herman, Paige Johnson, Annie Jorgenson and Drew DeMarce. Middle row: Deloris Williams, Allison Lauinger, Taylor Bisbee, Kristi Rosendahl and Ashley Risovi. Front row: Kim Nelsen, Keringten Lee, Danielle Schwanke, Erin Jorgenson, Anika Carlson and Jalen Taylor.
Boys who participated in the Lions Basketball Camp were, left to right, back row, Kalvin Slaubaugh, Jon Yankton, Quentin Sears, Collin Delorme, Kaleb Westad, Alex Weston, Jayden Lunde and Jayden Komrosky. Middle row: Chazz Reeves, Mathias Follman, Kyler Westad, Carlito Leppard, Aidan Ritterman, Devin Schwanke, Joe Silliman, Laine Ritterman and Frank Gourd. Front row: DeAndre Lablanc, Brett O’Connell, Garrett Johnson, Brayden Follman, Spencer Follman, Andrew Follman, Evan Follman, George DeMarce and Johnny Heisler.
State Fair winners
Mika Guty of Knox, daughter of Steve and Kindra Guty, placed second in the AMHR solid color stallions and geldings class (34" and under) at the ND State Fair in Minot with Spicey’s Bit of Gold.
Mika’s grandmother, Arlene Johnson of York placed first in the AMHR open country pleasure driving class (34" and under).