On a stormy winter morning, over 600 people gathered at the Holiday Inn for an update on our metro cities from four local mayors at the 2018 State of the Cities. We heard updates on achievements from 2017 and looked ahead to plans and priorities for the coming year. The mood was once again positive, and we celebrated themes of growth and prosperity. Joel Heitkamp, KFGO, and Mark Nisbet, Xcel Energy, served as emcees.
Thank you to presenting sponsor Xcel Energy!
Updates from Chad Olson, Dilworth
In our easternmost city, mayor Olson lamented the closing of their local Dairy Queen, but noted the silver lining in the opening of Kool Kone. Casey’s is expanding, and is even in talks of buying the city hall. “In 2018, we have to have a larger look to how we effectively use space and maximize tax dollars,” he said.
It’s big news that some industry giants like BNSF and ALDI are investing in building in the town. “Symbolically, as you see the 34th Street corridor grow, this is the ideal opportunity to grow businesses from its infant stages and develop throughout the region. This also highlights the interconnectedness of our region,” he said.
Looking at housing in Dilworth, mayor Olson noted that residential lots were full in 2017, which makes growth a challenge. Ultimately, what prevailed was an outside company that came in and will build approximately 20 lots in the Summerwood 3rd addition. In addition, in September, an extension to the East was approved to build a Keystone development. “When we put these two together, we’re looking at nearly a 100-acre property,” he said. “These will resolve our issue with lots, maintain the integrity of existing neighborhoods, offer high-quality affordable housing and we’re going to grow the city of Dilworth in a very pragmatic and sustainable fashion.”
Olson also praised some of the city’s employees, including the police’s efforts to serve the community. Last year’s Home for the Holidays program served over 200 families in the region, and 18,000 pounds of supplies were donated to hurricane relief.
Updates from Del Rae Williams, Moorhead
In Moorhead, we heard about population growth to near 45,000, and the building of 640 new single family homes and 964 new multi-family apartments. The schools grew as well, with the new Dorothy Dodds opening, as well as West campus for Horizon Middle School, and expansions on the college campuses. Moorhead is also proud to boast about its new diverging diamond interchange on 8th Street and I-94. We now look ahead to the railroad grade separation.
The city debuted a new recycling program, and an upcoming materials recovery facility in Clay County will save on recycling transportation costs. A new law enforcement center coming soon will also increase efficiency, safety and effectiveness of police efforts.
An arts & culture commission and its projects is one of mayor Williams’ favorite accomplishments.
“Along with strong department leadership and a dedicated workforce, Moorhead is well positioned to continue to grow and prosper,” she closed with.
Updates from Tim Mahoney, Fargo
Mayor Mahoney used four key words to describe the city of Fargo: innovative, responsive, efficient and strategic.
In 2017, Fargo signed wastewater agreements with West Fargo and Horace. Police hosted various Unity events to interact with local youth. The city won a national energy prize. The Roberts Commons parking garage opened, marking one of the first P3 projects downtown.
We’ll also be seeing work to improve the landfills, and single-sort recycling program is now in motion. On the roads, the 32nd Avenue corridor project was completed last year with the NDDOT. In 2018, we’ll see work on improving University Drive, 10th Street North, Roberts, Fourth Street South and 13th Avenue.
Narcan is now in schools, and police and firefighters are trained in administering Narcan, to address the opioid crisis.
The new city hall is expected to be completed in 2018, and the F-M Diversion remains a top priority for the city.
He also mentioned a public arts master plan, FARGODOME attendance records, Bison football wins and the new Sanford hospital.
Mayor Mahoney’s video closed with a thank you message to everyone that helps make Fargo the best place to live, raise a family and operate a business.
Updates from Rich Mattern, West Fargo
In our westernmost update, the city of West Fargo now boasts a population of 35,000, with 9,000 people coming into town for work. Mayor Mattern mentioned various infrastructure improvement projects, including the major Sheyenne Street reconstruction and the partnership with Fargo for sewage treatment.
The city is also seeing major growth in its schools. The 13th elementary school opened last year. A 14th is being built now, and a 15th is planned.
Veteran’s Blvd continues its development, and Sheyenne Plaza was completed. More developments are providing infill growth. Plans for Lights at Sheyenne 32 were unveiled for even more mixed-use buildings. A West Fargo Convention Center at the fairgrounds is another major project coming soon.
Mattern also mentioned that the fire department transitioned to a volunteer system for faster response time and better safety.
If you missed the event or want to rewatch it in its entirety, you can find re-airings on TV Fargo 56.
Live Poll Results
We conducted two live polls to engage our audience and see what they think most matters.
On question 1, we asked which community issue you thought was most important right now. With 39% of the vote, the top answer was once again workforce.
In question 2, we asked if you think the cities should continue to take advantage of business tax incentive programs. 70% of you said YES.
Check out these videos from the cities.
Here’s the recap from The Forum: Fargo-Moorhead area enjoyed growth in 2017, mayors say in annual ‘State of the Cities’ address
Check out these Tweets from attendees!
— Kirsten Jensen (@NextKirsten) January 11, 2018
— Jessica Lee (@JessicaLeeND) January 11, 2018
— Becky Walen CFP® (@BeckyWalen) January 11, 2018
— Kirsten Jensen (@NextKirsten) January 11, 2018
— Caitlin Stoecker (@MStateFdnCait) January 11, 2018
— FMWF Chamber (@FMWFChamber) January 11, 2018
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