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Beautification efforts greatly enhance 'downtown' district

Sheyenne Street's 'downtown' business district has turned into a beautiful sea of color thanks to the effort of City officials.

If you've driven down Sheyenne Street the past week or so you can't help but notice the striking wave of fuchsia-colored petunias flanking the west side of the roadway at intervals as far as the eye can see.

The huge, hanging baskets held in place with brushed silver brackets bearing the City of West Fargo logo are the first step of a beautification plan as a means of revitalizing West Fargo's 'downtown' business area.

Mayor Rich Mattern said this is something city officials have wanted to accomplish for quite some time. "Years ago when Mike McLeod (city auditor) was still alive, we had a study done on Sheyenne Street and what could be done to help revitalize it. One recommendation was a beautification process - to put some sort of centerpiece at Main and Sheyenne." Given the cost and difficulty in accomplishing something of this nature, thoughts turned to other ways to spruce up the area.

"The plants seemed like a cost effective idea," Mattern added. "I wish I could say that I came up with the idea, but you see those types of hanging plants in other cities, including downtown Fargo. I think the brackets with the City logo look fantastic. Hopefully, those brackets will last many years. Perhaps some day we can expand the area to portions of Main, but I think we need to find out how well these plants do on Sheyenne before we think about doing that."

Business Development Director Dorinda Anderson was a driving force and instrumental in getting the project completed, along with longtime City employee Eric Hanson and City Finance Director Sharon Schacher.

Funding for the 18 hanging baskets and the brackets that begin by Sooper Stop at 7th Avenue and end at Sandy's Donuts on the corner of Main Avenue, was provided by the West Fargo Visitors Committee at a cost of $4,600. The plan is to use the same brackets year after year and possibly at Christmas time for decorations.

Hanson assisted the staff at Red River Fabricating in the design of the logo and he and other City employees mounted the brackets along Sheyenne Street. He also developed a watering wand that City crews use to water plants directly from the watering truck. With the recent heat, the plants have required watering sometimes twice daily and city crews will continue maintenance.

The City would like to be able to continue this project every year. Mattern is hoping in the future it will be possible to get businesses both on and off Sheyenne Street to sponsor flowers. "It would be great if we had hanging plants all over the city. Perhaps we also could get volunteers, such as retired people that are interested in plants, to take care of them. That's just some thoughts for the future, but, for today, I'll enjoy watching the plants on Sheyenne Street grow and become even more beautiful."

Like the plants, the 'downtown' business district is also thriving with all the businesses along the corridor now occupied.

If you haven't traveled this route for a while, think of doing so, you'll be pleasantly surprised by both the aesthetics and by what 'downtown' West Fargo has to offer.