Moorhead also has a stake in diversion project
The Moorhead City Council’s reluctance to embrace its role as a full partner in the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project is shortsighted and parochial. It suggests the city’s leadership (or at least a portion of it) is content to look inward at a time when the F-M metro is expanding and solidifying its place as a significant regional urban center. In that scenario, comprehensive flood protection is vital.
Moorhead’s myopia is troubling because early on city leaders were pleased the city was a sponsor of the diversion. Indeed, Moorhead and Clay County have places at the Diversion Authority table. That fact alone recognizes Moorhead’s importance in the overall flood protection enhancements the metro needs for a secure future.
Moorhead has done an excellent job funding and building flood protection for itself, but the city does not exist in its own tiny bubble. If a big flood cripples Fargo, Moorhead will suffer because the cities’ economies are interrelated. It’s a fact members of the council should easily grasp, since several of them work and/or do business in Fargo. And thousands of Moorhead’s residents cross the river every day for jobs, recreation, medical care, education and shopping.
The divided council’s latest mistake was blocking diversion-related land surveys in the county. (Four voted to OK the work.) The council previously had approved such work, and has the legal authority to do so. But this time the council came up short of the six votes needed to move ahead. It seems some members of the council are so constricted in their perceptions that they are buying into the nonsense from a few diversion opponents south of Moorhead. That might be a blissfully misguided feel-good option for some council members, but it’s also lack of foresight and failure of leadership.
As a full participant in the Diversion Authority and a project sponsor, Moorhead has taken on certain responsibilities for phases of the project. That reality was underscored by City Attorney John Shockley, who none-to-subtly said if council members were not comfortable with the small survey phase of the project, they might want to consider the larger policy question of being a sponsor. If Moorhead takes that route, it will be further enshrining its status as a not-serious city where visionary leadership is in short supply.