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Community growth should mean more opportunity

The Little Red-Haired Girl and I got all cleaned up Saturday afternoon for a night on the town, accepting our invitation to the Plains Art Museums annual Spring Gala.

Its a wonderful event that involves a lot of effort from volunteers, many of whom share a great love for the arts. Its also an evening that features a lot of familiar faces, many of whom I associate with through my job here at the Pioneer and FM Magazine.

Each year, it gets me to thinking. Wouldnt it be terrific to have some sort of anchor for the arts out west? Sure, Bonanzaville has some unique pieces of art, some of which date back to the time people were first settling here in Cass County.

But, for a community that is running at breakneck speed towards the 25,000 mark in population, there is little opportunity for the expansion of the arts.

Thats a sad state of affairs, and one that I would challenge the City Commission and the West Fargo School District, along with the Chamber, to rectify soon.

After all, there is a definite appreciation for the arts in this community. Several artists that are involved in the regions top galleries live here. Others are currently participating in one of the areas largest visual arts campaigns with the Lake Agassiz Arts Council.

And you can see it each time there is a production at the West Fargo High School. Music lovers, even those (gasp) who have no children that currently attend the school, will go to the theater and attend the seasonal concerts. Others who love stage productions will also buy tickets to the fabulous shows presented by the West Fargo Drama Department.

While the Harwood Prairie Players do their best, theyre the lone voice in the wilderness out here, it seems.

West Fargo takes a lot of pride in being its own, individualistic community. As it tries to retain that, despite the massive growth of its neighbor to the east, it should attempt to walk on its own when it comes to the arts.

Sure, there are great centers for the arts in both Fargo and Moorhead. And its just a short drive to take advantage of any of these facilities. But, I maintain the opinion that it would be a feather in West Fargos cap to have more than one to call its own.

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As I challenge the City Commission, I also award some kudos to the communitys five leaders for making another sensible decision.

The call to revisit the Citys comprehensive plan is the right one, as the City on the Grow continues to burst at the seams.

The comprehensive plan was created, painstakingly, by a Board that had a lot of foresight on its side, but had no idea the growth in this community would happen at this speed.

For that reason, its time to bring the community up a few steps. Areas that werent expected to be developed until 2010 are now completely filled with family housing. Areas of commerce, such as the Eagle Run Plaza and the successful businesses that call that area home, werent even in the pipeline.

The City has done well using the current plan, adapting sometimes on the fly. A new comprehensive plan will help put future commissions on steady ground, including the current one, which will reload with the re-election of a couple incumbents next June (barring one heck of a write-in campaign).

A little guidance is good, especially when two new schools are dragging more development their way, and one more might be in the works.