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Fargo boosts Business Improvement District budget for 2022

More buildings downtown help to increase revenue as property owners pay special assessments for BID

Downtown Fargo Saturday night
Downtown Fargo can be a congested area on a weekend night as revelers hit the numerous bars found along Broadway and side streets.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

FARGO — Fargo's Business Improvement District operation to improve and enhance the appeal of downtown will have its biggest budget yet as it enters its 10th year.

The funds for BID are raised mostly from special assessments each property owner pays annually with rates the highest along Broadway and then dropping in the five various zones downtown.

The revenue will increase more than $100,000 to $654,394 in 2022 due to more properties being built downtown.

BID does project work such as helping with parades and other events to receive extra revenue.

BID Administrator Cindy Graffeo told the Fargo City Commission last week that the increase will mean they can hire one more staff member, raising the staff from five to six employees.

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Workers not only clean and work on safety issues downtown but also serve as ambassadors to the city helping by visitors and residents with information about downtown.

The service will also install new "way finding" signs across the downtown area to help navigate to attractions.

Graffeo said two of the major chores that increased this past year were removing 637 pieces of graffiti compared to 252 in 2020 and nearly doubling the removal of recycling items to 7,600 pounds on top of removing about 73,000 pounds of trash.

The cleaning and safety crews, often seen in their blue shirts downtown, also power-washed 44 blocks of sidewalks compared to 15 in 2020.

With the new funding and employee, Graffeo said, they should be able to keep up the level of service BID provides to the growing downtown.

When it snows, BID is responsible for clearing corners, bump-outs and rail crossings, Graffeo said. Business owners are responsible for their own snow removal.

City Commissioner Arlette Preston expressed concern about the condition of some pavers that appear to be disintegrating on some of the corners and crosswalks.

BID Operations Manager Victor Heitkamp said they work on replacements, but City Engineer Brenda Derrig added that they could develop a program and use separate funds for a more involved improvement project.

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Other BID operations that are more visible are the planter beds, flower baskets, seasonal flags marking events in the city, winter lights and working with police and the mobile outreach unit to help address panhandling and safety issues along the streets.

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