Downtown business owners react to 'no' vote
For Shannon O'Shaughnessy, the sleepless nights are over. "Everyone was telling me it's not going to pass, but you never know what's going to happen. It's been stressful," the co-owner of the Sports Bar said Tuesday night. Nearly 17,000 voters ca...
For Shannon O'Shaughnessy, the sleepless nights are over.
"Everyone was telling me it's not going to pass, but you never know what's going to happen. It's been stressful," the co-owner of the Sports Bar said Tuesday night.
Nearly 17,000 voters cast ballots Tuesday on whether to support a tax extension for a downtown events center. Nearly 71 percent voted no.
O'Shaughnessy hopes downtown will continue to grow, but not at such a pace that buildings need to be destroyed.
"I'm very happy with the way downtown is going the way it is right now," she said.
Greta Lauerman laughed with relief when she heard her late father's business wouldn't be demolished.
"Perfect. Wow, that's awesome. I'm just glad it's over," she said.
Lauerman was impressed with the voter turnout and glad to know so many people took an interest in the issue.
She said her business can now move forward with its remodeling plans.
"We're just going to carry on like we had hoped we were going to," Lauerman said. "This is really great news."
Not everyone on the block was happy. Fantasy's owner Kim Patterson is disappointed Fargo voters didn't look at the big picture and are unwilling to continue to grow.
"I feel that Fargo lost. We didn't lose. Fargo lost," she said.
Rick Engen, who owns the old bank building on the block and adjacent lot, offered brief comment.
"Thank God it's over with," he repeated. "Other than that, I don't know what else to say."
Paul Dobbins, owner of PD's on First, thought downtown would have benefited from the events center, but said his business will do well either way.
Dobbins said the Cityscapes campaign has been great for bringing attention to the block. He hopes property owners keep their promises to make improvements to their stores.
Nachhattar Gill, a strong Cityscapes opponent, gathered with others outside of Lauerman's Tuesday night to celebrate. He thanks everyone for their support.
"We are really happy," Gill said.
Fargo Fire Chief Bruce Hoover said it's business as usual at the fire station. He was surprised the vote wasn't closer.
"I would have had a lot more to say if it would have passed," he said with a laugh.
Mario Olivieri of Josef's School of Hair Design said his family never took a stand on the issue. However, he's glad his parents don't have to move from their home above the business.
"To see us have to be removed - that would have been hard," Olivieri said. "We just left it up to the voters."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5557