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L.V. Cook, Fargo, Published July 04 2013

Letter: A comparison of two riversides

I dropped in at the Eighth Street Art @ Davy Park event early Saturday afternoon (June 29). I was quite taken by the intimacy of the cozy park, which contrasted nicely with the expansiveness and natural beauty offered by what must be one of the finest alfresco dining/drinking venues in the metro: the patio at Usher’s.

On the way over, I was stunned at how high the river had risen, in only a few days. I couldn’t help but note that compared to Fargo, the city of Moorhead had to do very minor (flood) tweaking to guarantee smooth traffic flow on a very lovely/busy day. (The Hjemkomst Center was holding its Scandinavian Festival the same weekend.)

I counted a total of four simple traffic barricades on this side of Center Avenue rerouting vehicles away from the encroaching water. By contrast, on the other side of the river, Fargo had to close an entire lane of traffic for several blocks with yet another clay dike.

Of course one can’t blame Fargo for the vagaries of its topography. Downtown Moorhead is sitting on a gold mine by the simple fact that the east side of the river is several feet higher than its sister city’s to the west.

My point is that we, too, could enjoy close riverside amenities such as Moorhead’s, but we need sensitive, thoughtful and visionary planning to achieve that goal. Yes, it would cost more, but anything lasting and worthwhile usually does.

At the same time, the salubrious effects for the bottom lines of downtown businesses of “building where the amenities are” (to quote Doug Burgum in his recent presentation to the Fargo Dome Authority), can hardly be overstated. I believe Burgum has zeroed in on yet another extremely powerful stimulus for Fargo’s central district with his ideas and visions regarding future development of the city’s riverside along Second Street North. Burgum has my full support.