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What We Learned at State of the Cities 2017

January 12th, 2017 by Amanda Huggett

This year’s State of the Cities was an exciting celebration of all our metro cities’ growth, development, initiatives and collaboration. With so much great news and plans coming from each community, spirits were high and laughs were many as we discussed the issues with our mayors. Although the announcements were largely positive, there were moments to recognize recent tough times, including the loss of police officer Jason Moszer and the opioid crisis.

Thank you to Dave Sederquist from Xcel Energy, who provided opening remarks as presenting sponsor, and to KFGO’s Joel Heitkamp for serving as emcee.


Mayor Chad Olson shared new developments Dilworth saw in 2016:

  • Residential developments expanded their borders to the East to provide more single-family homes
  • A proposal to expand their borders to the North, which would include a new park plan
  • Improved infrastructure, including a remodeled community center that held events 210 out of 365 days last year, and a funding structure to maintain roads without a tax
  • Hiring 1 new police officer — the first in 11 years — and the addition of body cams for the police force that a study says decreases false reporting by 93%
  • Walmart added a training facility, which now serves as a regional training site
  • Approval on the 34th Street bridge project, a cooperation between Dilworth and Moorhead


Mayor Del Rae Williams showed a new video called “I’m from Moorhead,” and shared updates from last year.

  • Building valuations doubled from 2015
  • Public art increased
  • The diverging diamond on 8th Street was completed
  • Two schools broke ground
  • Parks were expanded and many homes came out of FEMA’s 100-year plan
  • Moorhead Business Association held the first-ever Bridge Bash

New plans for 2017 include:

  • More expansions for Moorhead businesses
  • Moorhead Economic Development Authority will gain interns to work on special projects
  • Involving the community residents in future planning and arts offerings
  • Work will be held for MB Johnson park, and Heritage Garden amphitheater will begin programming
  • No-sort recycling will begin in July
  • Two new schools will open, and Concordia will complete a science building
  • We’ll see a new jail and law enforcement center


Mayor Tim Mahoney talked about news from the city of Fargo.

  • A “Far More” slogan was introduced to the logo and marketing efforts
  • Drinking water was sold to West Fargo in an agreement, and was completed ahead of schedule
  • A sales tax extension vote was approved to fund the F-M Diversion, and several in-town flood projects were completed
  • The downtown fire station was renovated and reopened with a museum and educational center
  • Construction started on an additional downtown parking structure
  • 13th Avenue saw a major road construction project

The mayor’s long-term objectives for his staff include a focus on permanent flood protection, water and wastewater regionalization, Main Street initiatives, reliable and sustainable neighborhoods and smart growth. He also announced that single-sort recycling is coming soon, and work on a new City Hall continues.

West Fargo

Mayor Rich Mattern touched on updates from our westernmost city.

  • The new Rustad Recreation Center opened, and schools broke ground on a new hockey rink and swimming facility
  • More than 265 housing units were built last year
  • One new school was opened
  • One of two new downtown blocks began redevelopment
  • Many new businesses opened and expanded
  • Residents received new drinking water, courtesy of the city of Fargo

Polling Results

We also surveyed attendees to see their thoughts on some of the most pressing city issues. The results are as follows.

Question 1

Q1 results

Question 2

Q2 results

Question 3

Q3 results


Missed the event or want to rewatch the mayors’ videos?

Also, check out this great recap from The Forum! F-M mayors highlight collegiality in State of the Cities addresses

Catch the rebroadcast on the city’s public access channel at these times:

Friday Jan. 20 @ 10 a.m.
Saturday Jan. 21 @ 7:30 p.m.
Monday Jan. 23 @ 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday Jan. 24 @ 6 p.m.

It will also be rebroadcast various other times thereafter.

Check out these Tweets from attendees!


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