The blast of winter weather in early October is a reminder that we live in a climate where wintry weather can last half of the year. That makes it difficult to find the motivation to get outside and exercise.
The metro area can always use more indoor recreation amenities to help people stay healthy when the weather is uninviting.
So it’s great news that plans for an indoor Fargo Sports Complex are moving ahead. The concept is described as a “huge connected structure” that will house indoor turf, up to a dozen hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball, possibly two sheets of ice and an indoor walking track.
In development phases over time, the complex also could include outdoor space for baseball, soccer and football as it takes shape on 100 acres just west of Interstate 29, between the Walmart store on 52nd Avenue South and 64th Avenue South.
The partners working to make it happen include Sanford Health and Scheels, working together with the Fargo Park District and its affiliated Fargo Park District Foundation.
A major step is planned for Nov. 1, when land for the project is expected to be purchased. The city will have to annex the land and extend infrastructure to the location, which backers envision will be similar to the Pentagon sports complex in Sioux Falls, which hosts basketball tournaments.
The Fargo Sports Complex has been in the planning stages for a long time, and fundraising remains in the quiet phase, but backers expect momentum for the project will build.
It’s all exciting and no doubt will be a welcome addition. But we want to remind Fargo park officials that we cannot lose sight of the need for more green space for outdoor recreation and the enjoyment of nature.
As Fargo continues its impressive growth, we wonder where will be the next Island Park or Lindenwood Park? Far south Fargo, where homes and apartments keep sprouting, remains a park desert.
When it comes to providing more amenities to help residents maintain active lifestyles, we can’t limit ourselves to one or the other. We must pursue two tracks, simultaneously developing both indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities.
This is important. North Dakota has joined an undesirable club. It’s one of nine states with an adult obesity rate exceeding 35%; 71% of North Dakota adults are overweight. Minnesota’s numbers, although better, aren’t far behind.
We need a full range of athletic and recreation amenities to spur people to get off the couch, year round, to stay healthy and to keep waistlines from bulging. The environment we create should encourage healthy choices that appeal to the full spectrum of the population.