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West Fargo moves forward with golf course

West Fargo approved an agreement Monday allowing private development of the city's first golf course, a step that should enable the project to tee off soon.

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West Fargo approved an agreement Monday allowing private development of the city's first golf course, a step that should enable the project to tee off soon.

City commissioners unanimously approved the agreement, in which the city would oversee construction of storm drainage features estimated to cost $5.3 million.

In approving the agreement, commissioners stressed that homeowners outside the district including the golf course and associated development will not be assessed for the cost.

"I think this is going to be a win-win for all of us," said West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern. "I think this is going to be a good agreement for everyone."

The 520-acre Westport Beach subdivision, which includes an 18-hole golf course, will be south of Interstate 94.

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Commissioners also approved an agreement with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., following a spirited conversation about the local role in soliciting primary-sector industry.

A divided commission voted 3-2 to approve the agreement, which has been signed by Fargo, Casselton, N.D., and Barnesville, Minn., but not West Fargo or Moorhead.

Commissioner Mark Simmons, echoing concerns raised by City Attorney Brian Neugebauer, said the memorandum of understanding sidelined city staff in efforts to lure manufacturers and other "primary sector" employers.

But Brian Walters, president of the EDC, said the organization relies heavily on local staff, once leads have been identified and preliminary work is done.

Allowing city staff to be involved at the ground level would invite bidding wars that would thwart the goal of working together to spur development that benefits the entire metropolitan area, Walters said.

Darrell Vanyo, a Cass County commissioner and former West Fargo city commissioner, implored the city to work collaboratively on economic development.

Simmons and Mattern voted against approving the agreement, but Lou Bennet, Bryan Schulz and Mike Thorstad voted for the agreement.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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