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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 11 2009

US Bank closes ramp drive-through

US Bank temporarily closed its downtown Fargo drive-through bank Monday, shortly after a Minneapolis-based concrete expert recommended that all activity at the city-owned US Bank parking ramp be discontinued immediately.

“We were advised by the city of Fargo and engineers inspecting the parking ramp that any activity on, or under the ramp, should be stopped, until they can confirm its safety,” said Ron Robson, president of US Bank in Fargo.

Tom Downs of BKBM offered two alternatives after his inspection of the four-story ramp at 505 2nd Ave. N., an e-mail sent by city Senior Planner Bob Stein said.

Downs, an engineer who specializes in parking structure repair and maintenance, said the city should either close and demolish the building, or reinforce the circular center part of the ramp to eliminate the danger of collapse.

Reinforcing the center part of the ramp is considered an interim alternative that would allow most of the main level of the structure to be used, including the US Bank drive-through, Stein’s e-mail stated.

The ramp was closed to parking last Wednesday on the recommendation of local structural engineer Jim Heyer, following an annual inspection.

About 160 people who contracted to park at the ramp were offered parking in the Civic Center lot, officials said.

Business and city officials said last week that developers have long been interested in using the ramp and surrounding land for a redevelopment project and have indicated one may be forthcoming in the near future.

US Bank said customers can continue to visit the lobby at 505 N. 2nd Ave., and that it will let customers know their banking options when a decision on the ramp is made by the city.

Bank customers were also urged to use other US Bank locations in Moorhead at 403 Center Ave., or in Fargo at:

3802 13th Ave. S.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583