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Founded in 1869, Wahpeton, ND is located in the extreme southeast corner of the state in one of the most fertile valleys in the world! Here you will find a thriving community with a wealth of natural resources, nationally known North Dakota State College of Science a two-year state-supported school, beautiful recreational facilities, wonderful neighborhoods and 7800 friendly faces. Wahpeton is at the head of the Red River of the North and a short 50 minutes south of Fargo. The city shares the river with Breckenridge, MN and together serve as county seats to Richland County in ND & Wilkin County in MN.

Wahpeton businesses are diverse and entrepreneurial. There are many companies that got their start here in manufacturing and value-added agriculture. Located here are WCCO Belting, Giants Snacks, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, PrimeWood/Woodcraft Industries, Agco Amity [Wil-Rich], ComDel Innovations, Bobcat, Heartland Precision, Cargill and more!

Wahpeton’s downtown district retains much of its older historic buildings and offers many locally owned, unique shopping and entertainment opportunities, including the Red Door Art Gallery. A totally reconstructed main street in 2010 – Dakota Avenue – has been developed into a beautiful streetscape and cultural center for businesses, visitors and residents. Come shop JCPenneys, Bon Jos, Wahpeton Drug & Gift, Hairetage Hallmark, Total Personality, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard or grab a meal at any of our downtown restaurants.

And we can’t forget the Chahinkapa Zoo where 200 animals representing 6 continents and 70 species reside. That includes Tal, ND’s only orangutan. Other attractions include Chahinkapa Park, John Randall Baseball Field, Bois de Sioux Public Golf Course, Richland County Historical Museum and Kidder Recreation Area.

Economic Development in Wahpeton

Economic Development is a program, group of policies, or activity that seeks to improve the economic well being and quality of life for a community, by creating and/or retaining jobs that facilitate growth, provide a stable tax base and create wealth.

On May 14, 1991, City of Wahpeton voters approved a 1% city sales and use tax, the proceeds of which are to be dedicated solely to economic development of the City of Wahpeton and Richland County, North Dakota by means of business and industrial expansion including job creation, job retention, business and industrial diversification, and the creation, fostering and maintenance of business and trade activities and facilities. The tax would become effective July 1, 1991 and sunset in five years. On June 14, 1994, voters approved to extend the sales tax 10 years to June 30, 2006. And again on October 14, 2003, voters approved broadening the use and extending the 1 1/2% sales tax to June 30, 2026 ensuring planned economic growth for years to come.

Beginning in 2005, collections of the penny and a half tax would be divided with 40% going toward economic development projects/purposes; 33% toward flood protection efforts; 20% set aside for recreational needs and 7% would ‘float’ and be allocated annually to any of the three main areas. This 7% cushion has since been added to flood funding and for 3 years the percentage split has been 40-40-20.

In 2009, city voters once again were asked to set aside an additional 1/2 cent for continued flood protection and city infrastructure projects. Not that all of the dollars generating would pay the costs, but certainly help leverage the expenses. The additional tax went into effect January 1, 2010. At that time, percentages shifted to 45% Flood, 27% Economic Development, 25% Infrastructure and 3% Recreation.

In addition to strictly city sales tax funds, and the jobs development levy direction and administration, the Economic Development operations budget enables, leverages and includes leadership/management of and/or support to a much broader range of related economic development activity. This activity includes but is not limited to the Community Development Corporation, revolving loan program, planning, other city departments, housing and community development, commercial and industrial base, work force training and development, chamber, tourism, county, regional, state and federal matters.

July 1, 2011 marked the 20 year anniversary for sales tax collection in Wahpeton. As of December 31, 2011, $19,748,93.11 has been collected. Some of the projects funded with sales tax dollars include: Flood Protection System, Dakota Avenue Reconstruction, National Guard Armory Reserve Center, Natural Gas Pipeline, Wahpeton Community Center as well as assisting many local businesses with expansions, renovations and signage projects.

Environmental Considerations

North Dakota meets all EPA regulatory requirements, saving companies the time and money necessary to comply with separate state and federal regulations. Our streamlined permitting process was cited as one of the reasons North Dakota was chosen as the site for a $260 million corn sweetener processing plant.

North Dakota’s Department of Health provides a publication entitled Environmental Regulations: A Business Guide to the Environmental Permitting Process to assist companies in the process.


Wahpeton is located in extreme southeastern North Dakota near the southern border of the Red River Valley. The fertile valley is actually the dry lake bed of Lake Agassiz which was formed as the last glaciers retreated northward.

Wahpeton is served by highway systems I-29 (ten miles west), I-94 (23 miles east), ND 13, ND 127, US 127, and MN 210.

Natural Resources

The cost and availability of energy are key factors in industrial location decisions. This places North Dakota, with its huge reserves of coal and oil, in a very favorable position. We stand ready to deliver power to North Dakota business and industry… not only today, but far into the future.

North Dakota has many locations with undeveloped surface and ground-water supplies. Quantity and quality of those supplies vary greatly according to the industrial demands.

Wahpeton’s three wells tap into a large underground aquifer. A water treatment plant is located north of the city. If need be, the plant can produce 3 million gallons of water daily. 1.2 million gallons of water are stored in overhead towers and in underground mains, creating an abundant supply for city residents. A new 1 million gallon tower is planned to come online in 2003.

Site Facility Cost

Construction and improvement costs are among the lowest in the nation. Typical costs for an improved industrial site currently run from $5,000 to $10,000 per acre.

North Dakota has 36 industrial parks, including 2,000 acres with rail access. A foreign trade zone industrial park is located at the Grand Forks International Airport.

Wahpeton has two main industrial parks; light industrial located south of the railroad tracks and a heavy industrial corridor north of the 210 bypass. Sites available by contacting Wahpeton Economic Development.


Most of our state is on Central Time. Locating in the Central Time Zone allows businesses to contact both coasts and western Europe during convenient working hours.

North Dakotans speak “broadcast English,” meaning no discernible accent. Telemarketing and back office operations have found this to be a big advantage in dealings with both U. S. and European customers.

Five companies provide shared and operator-controlled mobile radio services through twenty-five sites in the state. These sites cover all major population centers and nearly all of central and western North Dakota. Radio paging services are also available in the Fargo, Wahpeton, Bismarck/Mandan and Grand Forks areas.

In addition to Internet services provided through telecommunications carriers, local Internet access serves an estimated 85% of the state’s population through a unique public/private partnership at every one of North Dakota’s county seat communities.

Resources say a 12 fiber cable exists between all communities in Southeast North Dakota with only Colfax, ND the exception [they have 4 fiber cable] The cable provided is underutilized at this time. It has the capacity to field 600,000 phone calls at a time.