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Fargo Civic Center ramp to get another floor of parking

Civic Center Parking next to Radisson Blu hotel to see another 68 spots

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The Civic Center parking ramp is seen Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, next to Radisson Blu in downtown Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Forum Communications Co.

FARGO — Fargo City Strategic Planner Jim Gilmour said when businesses think about locating downtown, one of their first questions is about parking.

For that reason, he said the Civic Center ramp, which was designed for a vertical expansion, could help by providing another 68 parking spots for rent downtown.

He said there are 1,578 spots in downtown ramps and ground lots with 78% — 1,236 spots — already rented.

Although 342 remain open, most of the spots in the underground Ground Transportation Center and Mercantile Parking Garage on Fourth Avenue North — 275 total spots — will likely fill up when new apartments and businesses open in the attached Mercantile building and another company potentially begins renting space at the GTC garage.

The city commissioners voted 4-1 on Monday night, Nov. 15, to use an estimated $2.8 million from this month's $9 million sale of the Island Park Ramp to Bell Bank to add another deck to the Civic Center ramp.

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The 250-vehicle ramp is currently at rental capacity.

The decision means the city will hire Walker Consultants, which has been advising the city on the ramp, to do engineering work with construction expected to completed next summer.

Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said the Civic Center ramp is of "high value" because it's connected to the skyway and in the core of downtown.

He said a tech company, which he wouldn't name, is considering a move downtown with about 300 employees and is interested in renting parking spots.

""It can really have an economic impact," he said.

He pointed to the "very successful wrap-around ramps" that are connected to businesses and apartments, including the 454-vehicle ramp in the Roberts Commons Garage that is at 93% capacity and the 174-vehicle Fourth Street ramp next to the RDO Building that is at 99% capacity.

When asked if there are plans for any more ramps, Gilmour said the Northern Pacific Avenue ground lot with 146 spots west of the Old Broadway restaurant and bar is being considered as another site for a ramp.

When City Commissioner Tony Gehrig asked how much rent the 68 new spots at the Civic Center ramp would bring in, Gilmour said $100,000 a year.

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In casting the lone vote against the project, Gehrig said he can't see spending money on expanding the ramp when he sees many spots still open. He said he believes downtown is getting special treatment, and if other businesses asked for help with a ramp in other parts of the city, the answer would be "no."

Gilmour said it should be noted that the ramps are open to the public at night and on weekends at no charge.

Preston said she would like to see the facade of the Civic Center ramp improved, as it doesn't look very nice. Gilmour said that would be an added cost, and lighting improvements are also needed in the ramp.

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