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Andi Murphy, Published July 27 2010

Do not open until July 2035

A time capsule was buried under a layer of brick near Fargo Park District offices on Main Avenue on Monday to celebrate the district’s 100th birthday.

The burial was part of a weeklong celebration that includes free admission to city swimming pools, free hot dogs and soda, a kids’ carnival, a 5K walk/run and a movie night, all at different local parks.

The time capsule is filled with documents from the park district’s 100-year history, including maps of the city’s growth, a flood graph, a copy of the 2010 budget and a copy of the first park district meeting minutes in 1910.

The capsule was set in the ground near the water fountain by Park Board members and covered with a plaque saying it is to be opened in July 2035.

“I think there are a lot of cities the size of Fargo that are jealous of our parks,” Mayor Dennis Walaker said at the event.

If Fargo parks and the park district did not exist, the city would be missing a whole lot more than flowers and grass, Walaker said.

“It is the city of parks, just as the sign says,” Park Board President Mary Johnson said. “I’m honored that it (100th anniversary) occurred during my term as president.”

Parks play an important role in the growth and health of a city, Johnson said. They offer areas for residents to relax, exercise, socialize and have fun. They are also good for the economy, she said, offering as an example when people reserve hotel rooms, eat locally and shop locally during sports tournaments.

Over 100 years, Fargo has grown to 95 parks and more than 2,100 acres of recreational areas that include golf courses, swimming pools and sports fields, said Roger Gress, Fargo Park District executive director.

“I hope they go back and look at the progress and they’re as proud to be in Fargo in 2035 as we are in 2010,” Gress said.

The district’s birthday celebration ends on Thursday with activities starting at 5 p.m. and ending with an evening showing of “The Wizard of Oz” at 9 p.m., Johnson said.

For a schedule of the 100th anniversary events and activities, visit the Fargo Park District’s website at www.fargoparks.com.