WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 19, 2010, 09:34 AM

City planners exceed goal to further develop and add housing to downtown Fargo

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Downtown Fargo planners have far exceeded goals set years ago. To better develop the area and provide more housing. Now a mix of low, mid, and high level buildings fill the blocks, giving the city diversity it was looking for.

5 years ago, downtown planners were hoping for 500 more people living downtown. Since then, more than 250 new living places have been built, most of those housing at least two or three people. City planners say history shows bad things happen when city forgets about their core.

"They abandoned them and migrate to suburbs and then you have lack of infrastructure, lack of value, and then that's hard to run a city efficiently."

City Commissioner Mike Williams says because of property and income tax incentives, investors did their part. Redeveloping and modernizing old buildings, exactly what the downtown planners had in mind.

"You don't have to build new roads you can increase the volume and value without expanding the size of the city's boundaries."

Mark Weiler lives a half block down the street. He co-owns Ecce Art and Yoga and he's the President of the Fargo Downtowners. Needless to say, he supports everything the city is doing to improve this area.

"Having local shop owners re-doing and re-vitalizing these old buildings it brings new vibrancy to the downtown and also creates a cultural center for all of F-M area."

It doesn't look like construction will be slowing down. Weiler says new apartments are being built above his business right now and people from the city say there's plenty more room to re-develop. Recently, the American Planning Association named downtown Fargo one of the best 10 neighborhoods in the United States.