Local Businesses Support New Downtown Fargo Drinking Ordinance

Business owners think that the ordinance encourages people to check out downtown establishments during events

FARGO, N.D. — With many events like the Street Fair and Corks and Canvas set to take place in the next few months, several members of the Downtown Community Partnership feel the new ordinance for drinking at downtown events will bring more people through their doors.

Hundreds of thousands of people venture to Downtown Fargo each summer to take part in various events.

Now, people can drink alcohol in specially marked cups on the streets within a marked zone until 9:00 pm.

Business owners think this will help people enjoy Downtown Fargo even more.

“You’re not gonna see ‘let’s leave the street fair with this drink in our hand and then go booze up and down Broadway’; it’s very much ‘let’s have our drink if we want during the day at the event’ and then you can come up and down Broadway and patronize some other businesses in Fargo as well,” said Cody Nelson, the Director of Operations of Great Plains Hospitality.

Nelson works for the company that owns downtown establishments like Twist and the Boiler Room.

He says the ordinance will be especially helpful when outside vendors come in for the Street Fair.

“Street Fest won’t be coming down Broadway on our end, so I think that will be a net positive for us since people won’t be afraid to come up Broadway during Street Fair and have all the festivities at once,” said Nelson.

When the City Commission passed the ordinance with a 4–1 vote, the lone dissenting vote belonged to Tony Gehrig, who supports the DCP, but believes the ordinance should be applied throughout the whole city.

“It’s one more leg up that downtown has over everyone else, it’s one more way that we’re favoring downtown versus the rest of the city. I think we’ve had too much of a laser focus on downtown, ignoring other things that we can do that could enhance our other neighborhoods within our community,” said Gehrig.

Gehrig also said a stipulation added by Commissioner Dave Piepkorn has it expire at the end of year gives the city a perfect window to see if the plan is truly effective.

KVRR reached out to the Downtown Community Partnership, but they did not provide any comments.

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