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WSJ: “One Parking Lot at a Time”

| By Mari Hall |

Downtown Fargo is turning heads at another major news publication. This time, it’s attracted the attention of Joe Barrett, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, paying particular attention to Fargo’s work in rethinking parking lots in the central business district.

“Like many downtowns, Fargo had to adapt in the 20th century to a car-based economy, and one easy way to add parking was to tear down buildings,” Barrett writes. But by the early 2000s, the parking lots were consuming too much space and providing minimal benefits to the downtown neighborhood or the city.

In an interview with Mayor Tim Mahoney, Barrett highlights how the City of Fargo reconsidered how to utilize space in the urban core, transforming its financing structure to incentivize growth without incurring debts that would be passed on to taxpayers. The crowning achievement so far, Barrett says, is the 18-story RDO Tower smack dab in the middle of downtown Fargo.

“City officials, residents, and business leaders say the project, completed in 2020, has attracted three ice cream shops, apartments, restaurants, and retailers to a downtown long dominated by dive bars and the giant illuminated sign at the art deco Fargo Theatre,” says Barrett.

The new financing structure put in place by the City has done more than just stimulate a renaissance in development projects, though. Barrett made sure to include the human impact these changes have brought to the community and how it has transformed the perception of downtown Fargo from a place to go bar hopping into a destination for date nights, family time, and so much more.

You can read the full article here. A subscription to The Wall Street Journal may be required.

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