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Greg Danz, Published January 25 2014

Letter: Fargo should make downtown parking ramps a first priority

I found The Forum article about building a parking ramp in downtown Fargo (Jan. 13) interesting and also frustrating.

While the consensus of the article was that new parking facilities are desperately needed, the overwhelming tone and conclusion seemed to be that it won’t happen in the near future.

I have been actively involved downtown for the past 20 years and witness to the remarkable revitalization and growth of downtown. I am proud of what we have accomplished. Yet, one of the major issues that we have ignored is parking. We have studied it, task-forced it and discussed it endlessly; but we have not done anything of consequence to make it better.

We need new parking facilities, and we need to act now or risk losing our momentum and accomplishments downtown. A large, new parking structure needs to be built on Roberts Street and Second Avenue. This facility should include a combination of long term (monthly rental) and short term (hourly parking). It should include bus stops (with a warm area to wait for the bus) and bike lockers. It should have an east side exit that would allow short-term parkers to access Broadway (especially important for major-event traffic headed to the Fargo Theatre or the many events that Broadway regularly hosts). A second parking facility should be an integral part of plans for our new City Hall and the riverfront area.

Parking facilities are expensive, but so is doing nothing. We are fast approaching the point where our inaction will start costing us money in loss of business and new development. It has been suggested for years that revenue from parking tickets and all other revenues from parking facilities go to a fund for future parking facilities; instead, they go to the general fund. Sales tax and property tax revenues have been increasing dramatically with the redevelopment of downtown. Let’s not risk the continuation of our Downtown Renaissance by doing nothing.

Let Mayor Dennis Walaker and our other commissioners know that the time is now.

Danz owns Zandbroz Variety on Broadway in downtown Fargo.