Fargo riverfront plans take shape
After more than a decade of discussion, downtown Fargo's riverfront redevelopment plans have been approved. Fargo city commissioners on Monday night accepted the final draft of the Riverfront Development Master Plan, which offers a framework for ...
After more than a decade of discussion, downtown Fargo's riverfront redevelopment plans have been approved.
Fargo city commissioners on Monday night accepted the final draft of the Riverfront Development Master Plan, which offers a framework for improvement in the area between Oak Grove Park and Dike East.
"This is a guideline for us to go by," said Rob Lynch, a city commissioner and member of the Riverfront Development Committee.
Fargo Planning Director Jim Gilmour said the plan doesn't guarantee that every proposed project will be carried out, but it will help with future decisions.
"We'll implement this a piece at a time," Gilmour said.
The master plan is the product of a Riverfront Development Committee, which has visited several other riverfront communities to gather ideas.
The document presented to city commissioners Monday focuses on four primary areas that make up the 1.5 miles of riverfront planned for eventual redevelopment.
- The Second Avenue North/Second Street North corridor is expected to become a focal point of riverfront redevelopment.
Plans call for the replacement of City Hall as well as a possible pedestrian connection and plaza linking downtown with the river and Moorhead's Viking Ship Park.
This may require a westward relocation of Second Street. Some trees also would have to be removed to allow for a view of the river.
Flood protection would need to be incorporated into the design of a parking deck or other development in the Civic Center parking lot.
- The Mid-America Steel Building lies mostly out of the flood plain and affords many opportunities for recreational facilities, corporate headquarters or residential buildings.
The problem: this is one of the few areas of proposed riverfront development not owned by the city, said downtown planner Bob Stein.
The Riverfront Development Master Plan states that Mid America Steel is not an appropriate use for the location.
"They've been good neighbors, it's just that times have changed," Stein said.
However, it would cost the city millions to clear the property and relocate the business. Without something specific planned for the area, it would be too big of a risk, Stein said.
- The Dike East/Midtown Dam currently is the most heavily used portion of the river corridor and contains about 14 acres of usable space, according to the plan.
One of the changes expected in this area is the expansion of the Farmer's Market and relocation to a more visible site. Also as part of the plan, the space will be reconfigured to accommodate festivals and concerts near the dam.
- The Community Gardens would be a natural area for concerts, festivals or other recreational uses, according to the plan.
One major challenge with this area would be the probable opposition to the relocation of the Community Gardens. Also, the piece of the residential neighborhood on the north side also could be infringed upon if used for concerts or large festivals.
The master plan does not address how the proposed projects would be financed or how much they could cost.
The next step may be considering a possible riverfront development corporation that would have private investors to assist with funding issues. Independent corporations were major components in other riverfront cities, Stein said.
Complete redevelopment of the downtown riverfront may take 10 or more years to complete, he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531