Community group aims to get downtown Fargo back on trackFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's an effort to clean-up downtown Fargo - an area some say has become unsanitary and not well maintained over the last few years. Now some are proposing additional fees for home and business owners to try and get downtown back on track.
It's an effort to clean-up downtown Fargo - an area some say has become unsanitary and not well maintained over the last few years. Now some are proposing additional fees for home and business owners to try and get downtown back on track.
A business improvement district would essentially be a special assessment on downtown businesses and property owners. It's something seen in similar cities like Sioux Falls and Billings, and one the Downtown Community Partnership believes is essential for Fargo.
Mike Hahn – CEO, Downtown Community Partnership: “Downtown is the barometer as far as how the rest of the city is envisioned. If you have a thriving, vibrant downtown, you're going to have a thriving, vibrant community.”
Downtown Community Partnership President Mike Hahn says it's far too early to predict how much an assessment like this could cost. Pricing strategies based on things like square footage, taxable value and whether it's a commercial or residential building have ranged anywhere from $100 to $1,000 a year in other cities.
Mike Hahn: “This includes much more than just Broadway, because there's going to be other improvements that are going to be done in downtown so we need to make sure we maintain the entire downtown district.”
Some business improvement services might include things like security, maintenance, clean teams, and marketing tools. But many are concerned they won't receive the same treatment as popular corridors like Broadway.
Brad Wimmer – Owner, Wimmer’s Diamonds: “We'd like to see it brought to another level, some of the owners don't. So I think that's we are going to try to digest, see what amenities we might bring in to make downtown Fargo more unique than it is today.”
The Downtown Community Partnership has divided downtown in 13 different block areas. Each will meet on one Tuesday over the next 3 months. Those at tonight's meeting encompassed 4th to 8th street and 1st Avenue South to Northern Pacific.
Brad Wimmer: “I find it safe and clean and very accessible, but like I said there's always ways it can be improved.”
Matt Winjum – Owner, Rhombus Guys: “A vital downtown is absolutely crucial to a vital city and I think Fargo wants to be on the edge and moving forward. I think a BID can only help that process.”
These block meetings will continue through May. If the downtown community supports the idea of a business improvement district, specific services, boundaries and costs would be decided this spring and summer with another round of meetings. The final decision then rests with the City Commission.