Ellendale Celebrates Being Named KVRR’s “Town of the Year”

The city of just over 1300 people still has a lot of activity on its Main Street

ELLENDALE, ND — KVRR’S Rob Kupec spent the day in our “Town of the Year”, Ellendale, to see just what makes it a special place.

The city of just over 1300 people still has a lot of activity on its Main Street.

But with an aging population it’s having a tough time finding people to take over some of the stores when owners want to retire. However there is a group of citizens that is working to bring the cities 100 plus year old opera house back to life and stimulate this downtown.

“Now that the state recognizes for these types of things in small communities of multi-use buildings where you have commerce and entertainment and I think it really helps our small communities thrive,” said Justin Meidinger, Executive Director of the Ellendale Opera House.

The idea is the concert space and arts will be attractive to younger families looking for a place to live and compliment the small town living.

“I had problems traveling to the entertainment I wanted to see so I brought it to me.”

Part of the space in the building is already used to bring in artists.

“Probably a couple of events a month. Right now we have our kids art project, we have a bottle cap project in here now.”

Dickey Rural Networks also provides something families and businesses need: high speed internet.

“Yeah we got gig service that is world-class internet service that you can’t even get in big cities: Minneapolis or Fargo,” said Jacob Lematta of Dickey Regional Networks.

And this small city has one more advantage that most other cities its size don’t have.

This is Trinity Bible College which over the last 10 years has undertaken a series of major renovations and it uses its rural setting to try and attract students.

“We find that those that come enjoy the low crime, enjoy the simple lifestyle, enjoy the friendliness and respectfulness of the small town folks,” said Ian O’Brien of Trinity Bible College.

With the campus renovation comes new programs.

“We’ve included a graduate school. We’ll be going into our first year of offering a PhD.”

While you might think Trinity Bible College is a little out of the way, it can be a gateway to the world for many students.

Ellendale certainly made us feel welcome, even sharing one man’s birthday with us. And they hope this welcoming spirit combined with the other amenities will keep this little town thriving.

The Ellendale Opera house just had an event that raised over 40,000 dollars towards the nearly half a million dollars they need to raise for renovations.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News, Town Of The Week