Island Park is the oldest park in Fargo, dating back to the city's original townsite over 130 years ago.

The investment in the Island Park Pool is exciting for Fargo and the surrounding neighborhoods. It is a rare opportunity not to just rebuild the pool, but to create a holistic vision for Fargo's oldest and most iconic park.

This project can go from good to great by 1) creating a comprehensive plan for the entire park and 2) allowing for more public engagement.

The need to select a design for the pool on May 11th has created a limited timeline for both design, planning and public input. This timeline also has not allowed the Fargo Park District and the community to create a shared vision for the entire park.

Island Park and the pool are at the heart of our community. They should not be thought of separately but should be designed together. A $15 million dollar investment warrants thoughtful decision-making. Allowing for greater public input will lead to better outcomes for all.

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I ask the Park Board on May 11th to imagine a greater opportunity at hand. $15 million is an investment that will last a generation. Let’s consider the entire park, not just the pool. Let’s bring more voices to the table for this planning process. As a community, this is an opportunity to not just have a good pool, but to have a spectacular place.

Joe Burgum lives in the Hawthorne neighborhood and is the president of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.