Dome plans improvements: Economic impact study due out soon
Fargodome followers have boasted for years about the building's profound economic impact on the Fargo-Moorhead community. Soon, they may have the numbers to prove it. In the next two months, the city will release results from an economic impact s...
Fargodome followers have boasted for years about the building's profound economic impact on the Fargo-Moorhead community.
Soon, they may have the numbers to prove it.
In the next two months, the city will release results from an economic impact study the Fargo Dome Authority commissioned a year ago to show how much of an effect the dome has on the overall community.
"There's obviously an economic impact," said Cole Carley, executive director of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The Fargodome took Fargo-Moorhead to the next level."
Carley, also a member of the Dome Authority's marketing committee, said economic benefits also extend to those already in Fargo and may even be a factor in people choosing to live here.
"It drums up civic pride," he said.
"We can stay here and enjoy world-class entertainment without having to go out of town."
Russ Johnson, president of the Fargo Dome Authority, said this will be the first time city and dome officials will have tangible evidence to show just how important the facility is in the region.
The study will cost $40,500 to complete. Among other things, it will look at how concert-goers spend their money elsewhere in Fargo and how many people the dome brings to town in a given year.
The study also may help determine how far the Fargodome's reach extends, said Marilyn Guy, Fargo Dome Authority member.
As of now, the strongest pull area appears to be about 100 miles out, said Paul Johnson, dome executive director. But depending on the show and day of the week, people may come from as far as 300 miles away, Johnson said.
It's not uncommon for people to come to Fargo from Bismarck or even Minot for a show and then make a whole weekend out of it, he said.
That provides a boost for the hotels and motels, restaurants, gas stations and shopping centers, Johnson said.
Local charity groups also benefit when the dome does well. Fargo has a number of non-profit groups that work the concession stands during major concerts and events.
It's a great service to the Fargodome, Thompson said. The groups end up taking home 10 percent of proceeds, which bodes well for the community, too.
When the dome was in the planning stages, boosters forecasted $70 million in new money would come into the community along with hundreds of jobs as a result of the dome.
Afterall, economic growth was at the forefront of Fargodome father Bob "Goose" Johnson's vision.
Johnson, the former Fargo parks superintendent who died last December shortly after the dome celebrated its 10th anniversary, pitched the idea, predicting the facility would revolutionize the area.
Many would say his dream is being realized. The study, according to dome officials, could prove that.
In terms of economic development, the dome would be "the biggest thing to hit Fargo since the railroad," Bob Johnson said in November 1988. "There's a need for Fargo to make a big statement ... a big statement in economic development, a big statement that we're going to be in the middle of the race for tourism, for exhibitions."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531