Keith Grosz, Moorhead, Published May 23 2013
Letter: Sign offensive, but not so wrongI’m responding to the Saturday Forum article, “Miffed by Message,” about the billboard (east of Moorhead on I-94), “North Dakota Open for Business.” I agree that it is a dig at the Minnesota business climate, as well as a shot at Moorhead’s. It’s offensive, but one doesn’t have to look far to see that Moorhead lacks a business-friendly environment.
Case in point: the proposed Sam’s Club west of Menards (east of Highway 52) that was promised in October. What happened!? When a big-box store wants to come into town, city leaders would do well to show some flexibility and compromise in order to work out a deal. Also, last summer or fall we were told that there would be at least a couple restaurants on the 34th Street corridor north of the Holiday station. Again, there were no results.
A few years ago it was announced that there would be a new development in the Holiday Mall area. Two anchor stores, namely, Kohl’s and another large chain, along with an Applebee’s, would set up shop. The office building that sits on 24th Ave. S., which houses telemarketers, a Little Caesar’s on the east end, and a couple other businesses is what we have today. Meanwhile, the west end sits empty with a dirt floor, a far cry from a bustling shopping center. This is simply one failure among several.
I’m 57 years old and have lived here all but two of those years. I recall that in the ’60s and ’70s Moorhead had a vibrant downtown area with a variety of stores. The Holiday Mall and Brookdale areas were full of shoppers. One could take pride in the city. As for downtown, urban renewal led to the Center Mall and destroyed what charm we had there. It seems like for every new business the Center Mall attracts, it loses two.
Yes, the sign is offensive, but I think all on the City Council need to look deep inside and ask: Is this the best we can do? The residents of Moorhead deserve better.