Fargo officials to reconsider connecting downtown with river, possibly with bridge over floodwall
FARGO - City commissioners here got a look Monday at some options for better connecting downtown to the Red River, seen as a future focal point for recreation and entertainment.
FARGO – City commissioners here got a look Monday at some options for better connecting downtown to the Red River, seen as a future focal point for recreation and entertainment.
Because a floodwall is being built along Second Street North, potentially cutting direct access to the river, city staff is proposing a bridge over the wall just southeast of where the new City Hall will be built or a crosswalk with an opening in the wall.
City Engineer April Walker said commissioners asked her staff to look at having more openings than initially planned at First Avenue and Fourth Avenue North.
Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney said he and other commissioners learned on their tour of Grand Forks’ dike system that officials there believe their city would have benefitted from more openings in the floodwall for access to the greenway that runs along the river.
Mahoney said city leaders had earlier wanted more access to the river, but it seemed too expensive because of requirements by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is building the floodwall.
Now, it appears the requirement is less onerous, he said.
Walker said staff will bring the issue to the City Commission for approval in about three weeks after making changes suggested by commissioners.
Of the two options for crossing Second Street, the crosswalk is the least costly. Walker estimated it would cost $350,000 to $500,000. The pedestrian bridge would cost $1.4 million to $1.7 million if built with switchbacks for wheelchair access, or $1.7 million to $2 million if built with a straight ramp.
The advantage of a bridge is that it would keep pedestrians away from traffic.
Since the crosswalk and bridge isn’t part of the flood control project, the city would have to pay for it.
The river access is part of a larger plan that includes a park running east from the end of Second Avenue North, between the Civic Center and the library, then between the new City Hall and a parking lot and finally crossing Second Street to the river.
Staff plans show extensive landscaping along the floodwall and the park.
“You just walk out of City Hall and you have this invitation to walk over to the river and take a look around,” Mahoney said. “We were all pleased with that.”
According to a staff presentation, the park would host events while the river side of the wall would have recreational trails and interpretive signs educating the public about the river environment and its history.
Uses staff envision for the new green space include ice skating rinks, ski trails, parades, cultural performances, food trucks and a farmers market.