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Fargo city staff to develop plans for downtown parking ramp

FARGO - The City Commission on Monday authorized city staff to develop legal and financial plans to build a new downtown parking ramp with R.D. Offutt Co.

FARGO – The City Commission on Monday authorized city staff to develop legal and financial plans to build a new downtown parking ramp with R.D. Offutt Co.

The potato producer is exploring the possibility of moving its corporate headquarters downtown.

Mayor Dennis Walaker, back for his first in-person commission meeting since treatment for kidney cancer, said he’s been waiting for such a project for some time. This is the first time the city will build a ramp that’s twice as big as is currently needed, he said.

The five-level ramp to be built on the city-owned parking lot at NP Avenue would have enough room for 600 vehicles, half of which would go to Offutt. The lot now has room for 140 vehicles.

Commissioners Tim Mahoney and Mike Williams wondered if RDO’s parking spots might be open to the public for weekend events, which is unknown.

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The ramp is estimated to cost $8 million to $10 million, which would be shared with RDO.

Expired sandbags

The 750,000 sandbags the city has stockpiled for the next flood fight will have to be destroyed, Enterprise Director Bruce Grubb told the commission Monday.

Some were filled in 2012 and some in 2013, and all have been sitting in storage outside because the city can’t afford to store them inside, he said.

City staff recently inspected the sandbags and found they had deteriorated substantially and the wooden pallets they sit on are structurally unsound after being moved multiple times, he said.

That means none of them can be counted on for the next flood fight, he said. The city has machines that can shred the sandbags and reuse the sand, he said.

Floodwall access

Though the City Commission earlier decided against a pedestrian access to the river at the future Second Street floodwall near City Hall, it decided Monday to have staff take another look at the idea.

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The Downtown Community Partnership recently asked the commission to reconsider because access could be beneficial for the future growth of the area, which is being redeveloped.

City Engineer April Walker said a pedestrian overpass over the floodwall would be costly, while putting a gap in the wall, to be closed during a flood, would bring complications. To make a gap accessible to the disabled, it might require the gap to be lower than the base flood elevation, she said. This would require approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she said.

Commissioners said Walker’s staff should look at both options.

 

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