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Published October 16 2012

Forum editorial: Making downtown shine more

It’s been at least two years in the making, but it appears the city of Fargo is ready to enter into a partnership with downtown businesses to enhance and improve maintenance. The Downtown Community Partnership advanced the idea some time ago and has been working with its members and city officials to establish an assessment district that would raise money to support stepped-up in-kind contributions to maintenance by the city. It’s a good idea.

Downtown certainly has changed since the incentives in the Renaissance Zone stimulated investment in restoration of classic historic buildings. Businesses and residential developments brought new life to a downtown that had fallen on hard times. Instead of the bleak, often dirty downtown of 15 years ago, today the old central city is vibrant, attractive and thriving.

But in order to keep it that way, special attention is required. If there is a rap on downtown, it’s that trash is left to blow around in gutters and storefronts, and decorative brick and masonry work on streets and other public installations are not routinely repaired and maintained. The aim of the private-public partnership is to address those concerns and others, like timely snow removal.

Businesses in the improvement district will be assessed according to a benefits-received formula. The city will revisit the arrangement in five years.

In addition to overwhelming support among business properties in the district, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, which is made up of homeowners who live downtown, is fully on board.

Fargo’s restored and rejuvenated downtown is an example for cities everywhere of what can be done when visionary business and government leaders go to work. Keeping that spirit alive and expanding is a full-time job. The new improvement district is the logical next step in preserving and enhancing what already has been accomplished.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.