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Dave Olson, Published October 24 2013

Fargo City Hall site committee has more questions than answers

FARGO – A group tasked with pinning down the design and exact location for a new Fargo City Hall met for the first time Thursday and discovered that when it comes to municipal planning, one question often leads to another.

Questions the City Hall Building Committee touched on Thursday included:

  • Will the City Hall location decision be affected by planning for a floodwall on Second Street North?

  • Should parking for the new facility include a parking ramp and should a ramp include private development, such as housing?

  • How does a new City Hall fit into the larger riverside picture and possible future changes involving Mid America Steel and the Fargo High Rise?

    For its part, the building committee needs to focus on deciding how large the new City Hall should be and where it should go, City Administrator Pat Zavoral said.

    While the specific spot has not been identified, city officials have said the location of the new City Hall will likely be somewhere in a “quadrant” roughly defined by the current City Hall and nearby parking lots, the Fargo Public Library and the Fargo Civic Center.

    Mayor Dennis Walaker said other questions regarding the future of Fargo’s riverfront would be better addressed with the help of a riverfront master plan, and he suggested Richard Moorhead, a Moorhead architect, would be a good choice as the one to hire to come up with such a plan.

    Without going into details about how the riverfront might change in years to come, Walaker said Fargo’s industrial park would probably be a better home for Mid America Steel, a manufacturing plant now located next to the river at 92 NP Ave.

    “To me, they’re not a good fit for downtown,” Walaker said of the business.

    City Engineer April Walker told the building committee that flood control measures planned for Second Street North should not complicate the decision about where City Hall should go.

    The committee set Nov. 7 as the deadline for proposals from architect firms hoping to be part of the City Hall project.

    The group set a meeting for 3 p.m. Nov. 12 to decide which firms to interview.

    Candidates chosen for interviews will meet with committee members Nov. 19 and 20.

    The committee is to make a recommendation to the city commission Nov. 25 regarding which architect to go with.

    Under a timeline presented Thursday, construction on a new City Hall could start in July and extend through November 2015.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter

    Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555