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Published June 05 2013

Forum editorial: Downtown progress continues

It’s a challenge for motorists to negotiate detours and street construction work in downtown Fargo. It’s going to be that way all summer, and likely next summer, too.

Be patient. One of the defining characteristics of “new” downtown Fargo has been constant change. From the renovation of historic buildings to the proliferation of new businesses to the establishment of the downtown North Dakota State University campus, change has been accelerating for at least 15 years. It’s a good thing.

Not long ago downtown was moribund. For people who worked there, it was a place to flee at the end of the day. Today the old central business district has new life, new residents, new businesses and a festive atmosphere all year-round. Instead of dashing away from downtown at the end of the day, people now have opportunities for entertainment, good food, lively pubs, art galleries and unique shops. It’s a neat place.

It didn’t just happen. Thanks to establishment of the Renaissance Zone several years ago (in large part the work of former Fargo legislative leader John Dorso), practical incentives stimulated private-sector investment in downtown properties. The city rehabbed streets and added decorative historical amenities. The public/private partnership revived downtown, and the process is ongoing.

Street work, specifically the conversion of one-way thoroughfares to two-way streets, might not be universally applauded. It will be an inconvenience, to say the least. But the purpose is to extend the success of Broadway’s rejuvenation to Main Avenue and NP Avenue by slowing traffic, making the avenues more pedestrian-friendly and improving parking for downtown visitors and shoppers. That’s in keeping with the positive changes that have made a once-dying downtown a lively destination.

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