Bruce Brovold, Fargo, Published December 06 2012
Letter: Fargo should revisit dome vision of late Bob JohnsonTwenty years ago, the late Bob Johnson, Fargo’s parks superintendent, had a dream. He wanted an enclosed stadium to be built in Fargo. His vision was a 30,000-seat stadium similar to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash. It would be a venue to hold football, baseball, hockey as well as large concerts, trade shows and other events.
Well, as Fargo has chosen to do most of the time over the years, it never has planned for its growth. One can see this in the continuing widening of our streets. Look at our small City Hall, and the Fargo Civic Center – built to hold only 3,300 in 1959 – probably thinking that Fargo was as large as it would ever be, I guess. As Fargo grows rapidly, new projects need to be built and updated, and costs have skyrocketed.
Today the 20-year-old 18,700-seat Fargodome is too small for North Dakota State University Division I football games. Finding a ticket is most likely out of the question for most general-admission fans. The number of season tickets is way up. In addition, students are complaining that only 4,000 seats are reserved for them. Sadly, the number of handicapped seating is not enough to hold people with disabilities and handicaps and aging citizens; it should be tripled in capacity.
I am sure if Johnson’s dream of a 30,000-seat dome was built in 1992, it would not be hard to fill the extra 10,500 seats today.
Fargo is a football city, as anyone can see by just attending a game. As our city continues to grow along with NDSU, I believe a 30,000-seat dome is reasonable today.
Being that Cable One does not have the insight to add ESPN3 to its menu, many Bison fans are being left out in the cold; that means lost money in sports revenue for NDSU.
Our metropolitan area is nearing a quarter of a million people. It is time for Fargo to start thinking about a new dome – a dome that will be suitable for Fargo’s growth and one that can be expanded as our population grows.