A labor of love in Lignite

Volunteerism, community spirit fuel North Dakota park improvement project

For the people of Lignite, this improvement project became a true labor of love.

More than a year ago, some residents of the North Dakota town were lamenting the state of Lignite City Park, which had become the target of repeat vandalism.

Enbridge employees in the community soon started hatching plans to revitalize the green space, using the company’s Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) program. Local contractors began pitching in. And with the donation of time, labour, money, and materials by a significant cross-section of the community, several months of steady beautification work culminated in a full day’s worth of restoration activity at Lignite City Park just prior to the Fourth of July.

“Everyone realized that this stuff couldn’t get done on its own. People turned out asking what they could do, local contractors were donating their time, and we brought out our big BBQ grill and cooked for everyone,” says Chris Schaefer, Enbridge’s Supervisor of Area Operations in nearby Stanley, N.D. “Because so many people from the community turned out to help, we were able to do a lot more than we’d originally planned.”

About 15 Enbridge employees – plus about the same number from the community – took part in the July 2 Lignite City Park revitalization. Following some spring welding work, the project was capped with a playground refresh, tree cutting and trimming, and the installation of lighting and security cameras.

Enbridge’s VIP program recognizes employee contributions of time and money to charitable organizations by providing additional support, in terms of paid volunteer time and top-up financial contributions. In addition to people power supplied by the VIP program, Enbridge kicked in about $10,000 in materials and supplies from its community investment budget toward Lignite’s park improvement project.

“It was nice to be able to put a smile on people’s faces, and everyone’s really taking ownership of the park now – it’s getting used even more,” says Schaefer. “Everyone realized that it’s a focal point, a real anchor, for families and kids and social activity in the town.”

Enbridge is the leading crude oil transporter in the Bakken region – with our $2.6-billion Sandpiper Pipeline Project expected to provide much-needed pipeline capacity in the region, and help establish North American energy security and self-sufficiency.

In 2013, more than 1,370 employees across the Enbridge enterprise took part in our VIP program – devoting more than 4,000 volunteer hours and generating nearly $360,000, including matching company funds, for non-profit organizations in communities near Enbridge’s projects and operations.