Fargo Park Board agrees to manage Block 9 plaza, improve ice rink warming house access

FARGO -- The Fargo Park District will manage events for the planned Block 9 downtown high-rise plaza, continue in-town hunting of deer and turkeys, and use light timers and electronic locks on warming houses to make ice skating more enjoyable, th...
Zoe, Caleb and Dan Stowman enjoy an evening outing Jan. 24, 2018, under the lights at the ice rink by Lincoln Elementary School in south Fargo. Forum file photo

FARGO - The Fargo Park District will manage events for the planned Block 9 downtown high-rise plaza, continue in-town hunting of deer and turkeys, and use light timers and electronic locks on warming houses to make ice skating more enjoyable, the Park Board agreed Tuesday, June 12.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the Block 9 deal, contingent on legal counsel approving the contract's final language.

The Block 9 Partnership, a collaboration of the Kilbourne Group and R.D. Offutt Co., will pay for the plaza's amenities, while the park district will manage the plaza, providing at least 200 days of public events annually, Finance Director Joe Larson said. The Block 9 partners also agreed to cover part of the financial losses in the first three years, he said.

Commissioner Rusty Papachek abstained from voting. He's an employee of R.D. Offutt.

In other business, the board:

• voted 5-0 to continue archery hunting for deer and turkeys for the 2018-2019 season.

The program, a partnership with the city of Fargo and the state Game and Fish Department, is designed to control deer and turkey populations along the Red River.

• voted 5-0 to staff the warming houses at the downtown ice rink and rinks at Longfellow, Roosevelt, Clara Barton, Kennedy and Centennial elementary schools this coming winter.

Automatic lighting and warming house locks will be installed for the rinks at McKinley, Washington, Horace Mann, Madison, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln and Bennett elementary schools, and for the Lemke Park and Westgate area rinks.

The move was made after complaints that only six of the city's 17 warming houses were staffed and lighted through the early part of this last winter.

Commissioner Matt Magness said the park district should also consider installing cameras to monitor warming houses as an added safety measure.