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Mike Hulett, Moorhead, Published September 11 2013

Letter: Moorhead also ready for growth

The Forum report (Sunday, Sept. 8) of additional business and government center development in downtown Fargo should be welcome news to all residents of the metro area. After all, many people cross the river on a regular basis to shop or work, making all of us members of one community.

However, the growth need not stop at the river. Just one or two blocks to the east is an area in downtown Moorhead that is equally ready for redevelopment and revitalization.

In fact, just last week at a mayoral candidate forum held by the Homebuilders Association, I called on homebuilders, developers, Realtors, bankers, the Moorhead City Council and the residents of Moorhead and to get behind a comprehensive plan to rebuild and re-energize downtown Moorhead. This plan, which I call “Return to Center,” will enable Moorhead to meet the often-stated goals of retaining existing businesses while adding more, plus building additional downtown housing, thus making Moorhead an even better place to work, play and call home.

I suggest that we focus first on designated blocks along and near Center Avenue to make them the anchor for new housing and new businesses. With 15,000-plus students a few blocks away in Moorhead and 14,000-plus more just across the river, what better location exists for student housing above and among small retails stores?

I have already called on Minnesota legislators to consider initiating legislation, proven successful in other cities that will provide Minnesota border cities with the ability to designate “special opportunity zones” for revitalized housing and business through the provision of five years of complete property tax relief.

Downtown Moorhead has parks, trails, and green spaces along the river available for biking, roller-blading, walking and relaxation – perfect for residents of any age. What better place could there be for students and working people to live, shop, meet and socialize?

Come on, Moorhead. Let’s “Return to Center”! Add a new pedestrian bridge reaching from the Hjemkomst campus over to the new Fargo government complex, and the picture is complete.

Hulett, a member of the Moorhead City Council, is running for mayor.