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Update Begins on Downtown Fargo Master Plan

The information gathering has started as the City of Fargo looks to update its Masterplan for the Downtown area. Scott Page is Principal of Interface Studio and consultant for the project. He says the idea is to create a long-term vision with defined action steps. Page says revitalizing a downtown area is not unique to Fargo or to North Dakota…

“…Downtowns 10-20 years ago were unsafe, unpleasant, people avoided them. And now today they’re active, they’re interesting, there are places to eat. It’s where you want to go out on a Friday night. So it is definitely an evolution of downtowns. I think we have the opportunity in Fargo to be really forward thinking and ensure that we don’t run into problems with housing affordability or that we push out the things that have made downtown Fargo unique. But include them in that process.”

Newly elected Fargo City Commissioner John Strand says he remembers the dismal days of downtown Fargo. Strand says he is glad to see the pendulum swinging back, and the downtown area becoming vibrant once again. He says in building the Masterplan it will be important to be alert to the trade-offs that may occur in the revitalization…

“… There’s a balance between growth and gentrification. With regard to housing, my personal opinion is that if somebody, if developers are getting targeted incentives or tax incentives or they’re getting different waivers or are benefiting from certain public programs, we have the right to also work into that mix some criteria for affordable housing so were are not pushing everybody out to the exclusion of the creative types or the folks on limited incomes.”

Officials will be launching community meetings this fall to gather more input and to share information of what has been gathered. A draft strategy is expected to be assembled by spring 2017.

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