Molding The City’s Vision: Panel Discusses Future of Downtown Fargo
Attendees raise concerns about on-street parking, safety during evenings
FARGO, N.D. — Ever since she began her tenure as Executive Director of the Fargo Theatre twenty years ago, Margie Bailly has seen Downtown Fargo become bigger than she’d ever imagine.
“We have a lot more residential capacity, we have the wonderful satellite campuses in the downtown area. Infrastructure is stronger than ever before. And we continue to have vision,” Bailly said.
That vision, which has guided the downtown area for several years, continues to evolve as the city keeps growing.
At a panel discussion about the area’s future, some people voiced concerns about parking availability and safety.
City Commissioner Tony Grindberg says city leaders are committed to keep the area open to all.
“As downtown grows, access to services and law enforcement from a standpoint of making sure we have a safe environment is appropriate. Downtown’s open for business, it’s a great place to be, it’s a destination. Outside of if you work downtown or live downtown, come downtown,” said Grindberg.
Another area that panelists had an answer for was parking.
“Parking is misunderstood. There really is plenty of parking in downtown Fargo. Really, there are over 2,000 on–street spaces. So it’s really just looking at the design of downtown, looking at the map that defines the parking. They’re there and they’re absolutely there,” Bailly said.
With the Block Nine project set to be completed in a few years, and more spaces for people to live, work, and play, more people, like Yvonne Schilplin, embrace the chance to be part of the growth.
Schilplin moved to Fargo from Minneapolis, and she says she hasn’t looked back since.
“I love it here. I just think it’s fabulous. If I didn’t move downtown right away, I wouldn’t have lasted in Fargo. Everything here is accessible to me, I feel extremely safe,” Schilplin said.
The discussion was hosted by Do it All Downtown, a grassroots campaign focused on keeping Downtown Fargo vibrant and on the grow.
Charley Johnson, the President of the FM Convention and Visitors Bureau, moderated the discussion. Bailly and Grindberg were joined by Cody Schuler of the FM Coalition for Homeless Persons and Josie Danz, the Manager of Zandbroz Variety.