FARGO — The plan for what might happen with the area surrounding the new Fargo City Hall is starting to take shape.
Bishop Land Design of Quincy, Mass., has created a 16-question community survey and a series of options that are on display boards available for the public to view at Fargo's three libraries.
Scott Bishop, who designed the plans, told a crowd of about 30 people at a community meeting at the downtown Fargo library Tuesday night, March 19, that "something has to be done" with the area surrounding the City Hall, civic center and library now that the old city hall has been torn down.
The vision for the roughly 217,000-square-foot site was partially developed after meetings with working groups of citizens and city staff. Community input will help determine how the plan should proceed.
It's being called the Fargo Civic Plaza.
The main features of the preliminary plan incorporate a performing arts center, an east-west Second Avenue connection from Broadway to the Red River, a 100-foot wide pedestrian and biking bridge over the street by City Hall and the flood wall with a lift bridge across the river and enhancements on the north-south Fourth Street to make it more pedestrian-friendly and to tie it into the plaza.
Bishop said the area available for development is not much smaller than the civic plazas in the much larger cities of Boston and Dallas.
One of the keys is to determine where the performing arts center — currently being studied by a task force — would be built. Bishop said the options are replacing the current Fargo Civic Center, building on the southeast corner of the plaza site south of City Hall or on the old Mid-America Steel site farther south.
Although there are advantages and disadvantages to all of the sites, he said the Mid-America site seems the least desirable because of its access problems and the time it would take to tear down all of the buildings on the land next to the river.
Another key to the plan is the connectivity of the downtown Broadway area to the plaza. This part of the plan would involve making changes along Second Avenue, including planting more trees, adding bike lanes, eliminating parking except in front of Gate City Bank and U.S. Bank and perhaps adding small semi-permanent retail kiosks along the avenue.
Bishop said that it's almost guaranteed other development will follow once the plaza is complete.
The community survey can be found in this Google survey form: