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John Lamb, Published December 24 2008

Santa, here are some F-M gift ideas

Pssst … Hey Santa,

I know you’re really busy, making lists, checking them twice and stuff like that, so let me help a bearded brother out.

Some people may not think much of life in the greater Fargo-Moorhead area, especially since most of the national news lately has focused on our alleged corruption and the frigid weather. Those who live here, however, know the community has been pretty good this year, so I thought I’d offer a couple of gift suggestions for things the cities would like.

Sure, a lot of this stuff is practical and nothing too exciting, so maybe you could dress it up with a pretty bow, or some neat wrapping paper. And this isn’t stuff that needs to be under the tree tomorrow morning, but maybe projects to start in the new year.

Moorhead has a lot going for it, but what it really needs are some new developments. The corner that used to house Ralph’s is still empty and there is plenty of space along the First Avenue corridor.

Moorhead Center Mall also has plenty of space, so why not fill that with something the area needs – licensed day cares. This would give the mall a chance to swap its defeatist slogan – “Another great place to shop” – to something like, “Another great place to drop off your kids.”

You know what West Fargo has been itching for? That’s right, a new water treatment plant. That topped the list for City Administrator Jim Brownlee, since he’s already getting a new golf course.

Of course, the water treatment plant isn’t very sexy. It’s kind of like opening a gift and finding underwear – and not the kind you’d be embarrassed to buy. Sure, it’s not the thing you can’t stop thinking about, but it’s the kind of thing a growing boy needs.

And West Fargo is a growing community. Actually, it just hit puberty and you can hear its voice changing. Soon it may even outgrow its big brother, Fargo.

Speaking of Fargo, what do you get the biggest city in the state? A pro sports team? Another Fargodome addition? More flights in and out of town? Another Applebees?

How about cash, the gift that keeps on giving? Maybe enough to fund the city’s flood protection plan. City Administrator Pat Zavoral said it would only cost about $600 million.

Santa, I know you get your big-boned body down a skinny chimney and make reindeer fly, but can you even come up with that kind of cash? Maybe you could deliver something that could help Fargo make money. Something like parking meters in downtown. That would look great in a stocking Christmas morning.

“Sure, why not,” Zavoral said. “We’ve only tried that three legislations in a row and it hasn’t gone anywhere.”

For 60 years North Dakota has banned parking meters. But Santa, you’ve got friends in high places, like the Legislature, right? Maybe you could convince some people.

Since Zavoral is thinking big, why not one more wish.

“How about a bubble over the city so it would be 70 degrees all the time?” he asked.

Oh, that Pat. Now he’s just being silly. If we have a dome over the city, how will you get in to visit, Santa?

Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533 or jlamb@forumcomm.com