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Other Views: Downtown convention center best for Fargo

How is it that members of the Fargo Dome Authority voted unanimously in favor of building a convention center at the Fargodome? Really? Not a single dissent? No breaking ranks, even a little? Not one member who liked a downtown location? Not one?

Well, OK. Maybe they are sincerely convinced a new convention venue would better serve the city at a dome location, and that is their recommendation to the City Commission. Here’s hoping city commissioners stick to their position that the center should be downtown in the area of the new City Hall on a newly designed civic plaza. Commissioners have indicated they like a downtown site but have not voted formally to cement the choice.

Downtown is the right place. Might it be more expensive in the short term? It seems it might, but a complete study of construction and operational costs has not been done. Might parking be a problem, when compared to the open lots at the dome? It’s possible, even likely for big attractions. But if a multilevel parking garage is part of the new civic complex, the ramp not only will accommodate civic center parking on event days but also will be available every other day. Done right, parking can be a win-win.

In recent years, Fargo leaders, with support of the people of the city and in partnership with the private sector, have made productive investments in downtown rejuvenation. The results are impressive. A downtown convention center can be a catalyst for more improvements and enhancements. It’s the way to go.