DEVILS LAKE — A new family entertainment center has opened in Devils Lake, one of three projects completed by the Devils Lake Park District after a new sales tax initiative passed in 2022.

Dockside Entertainment Center opened Thursday, May 16, and has been packed since opening day, manager Christy Remmick said. Among the early visitors have been students on field trips from local schools.

“It’s been busy pretty much from the time we open our doors to shut the doors,” she said. “We had a lot of people come through. … We’ve actually had field trips almost every day since we opened.”

Dockside is a 30,000-square-foot facility, renovated from a grocery store, that sits at the corner of Highway 20 and Highway 2. The center features six bowling lanes, five multi-sport simulator bays with more than 30 games, an indoor playground, three multi-sport courts set up for pickleball, an indoor walking track around the perimeter of the building, a lounge area and two community rooms, which have already been rented out for birthday parties. The park district’s offices have also moved into the center, and a snack bar is still in the works. Patrons can purchase memberships to the center or buy day passes.

The project is an example of the boost in recreation the park district seeks to create through funds from a quarter-percent sales tax increase passed in 2022 . The park district had been attempting to pass a tax increase to fund a wellness center or similar facility project since 1999, Remmick said, but failed every time until the most recent attempt passed. Two failed attempts include one in 2014 , which would have funded a new wellness center and convention center, and another in 2018 , which would have funded a recreation center. The current sales tax increase will generate approximately $400,000 annually.

“People have put in a lot of effort at the park district to get something going and we’re really excited to be able to get this going this time around,” Remmick said.

The funds also have helped the park district add a new turf baseball field and a new fishing pond. Remmick said there is a goal to have Dockside self-sustaining, without using any of the sales tax increase funds, so the district can work on its next project. The district plans to seek feedback on what the community would like to see.

So far, Devils Lake residents are enjoying Dockside, and Remmick is happy to see the project come to fruition.

“I’ve been really involved in the community since I moved here 12 years ago, so I’ve been trying to make impacts in whatever way I can,” she said. “So, being able to be part of this facility has been a great opportunity to be able to see it being used and how excited everyone’s been and seeing the kids’ faces when they first walk into the building. I don’t think they really know what to expect and then they just light up.”