Community Voices Opinions On Safety, Homeless, Housing in Downtown Fargo

Fargo planning department, police department, Prairie Roots Food Co-Op, Homeless Coalition were all in attendance

FARGO, ND —¬†Downtown Fargo could see some major changes in the future, but before anything is set in stone, people in the community are getting the chance to voice their opinions.

The Fargo Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) hosted a meeting at Revland Gallery to discuss everything from safety to the homeless population.

The first point on the agenda was one many people say they want in downtown Fargo the most: safety.

“It’s a fundamental need. We all like to have safe and healthy environments and so we strive for that as residents of downtown,” said Carol Schlossman, DNA’s vice chair.

Arlette Preston has lived downtown for ten years and says she always feels safe, but she can understand why some people may not.
With many bars downtown, she says running into a loud, intoxicated group can be a little scary.

“We’re trying to also address that perception because I don’t think that perception is quite accurate,” said DNA’s chair Arlette Preston. “If a person comes down and runs into a group that has been drinking and that are loud, yeah that happens, but not very frequently.”

For the times people do run into those situations, the Downtown Neighborhood Association is proposing posting more flyers of the police department dispatch number.
Since there are many homeless people who come to the area, there’s also talk about creating a day center they can go to.
They will be able to do laundry, shower and store any bags they have at the center.

“For individuals to have a place to exist, get off their feet, have a meal, converse with each other, be human, instead of being in survival mode is incredibly important,” said Jillian Gould, homeless outreach specialist for the city of Fargo.

Aside from those that are homeless, the association says they hope to attract more middle-income families too.

“We’ve got the lower income housing and the higher incoming housing, but we don’t have the housing that we need in the middle,” Preston said.

Gould says the goals the association have are achievable because of their willingness to keep everyone in the community informed and they work together with other groups.

“We are working together, that there are resources out there, that I’m available, that law enforcement is available, that the bid is available and we all coordinate together to make downtown safe, fun, affordable for everybody,” Gould said.

This is the second annual meeting the downtown neighborhood association has put on.

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