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Park District showcasing new facilities

The newly remodeled West Fargo Park District Office in Elmwood Park located at 500 13th Avenue. Carrie Snyder/The Forum1 / 3
The West Fargo Park District Office was recently remodeled. Carrie Snyder/The Forum2 / 3
From left to right, West Fargo Park District employees, Diane Fritz, Lance Belisle, Barb Erbstoesser, and Justin Germundson sit in the new conference room at the Park District office. Carrie Snyder/The Forum3 / 3

The West Fargo Park District is celebrating their newly renovated office space with a special open house Thursday, July 9, from 5 to 7 p.m., at 500 13th Ave. W., in north Elmwood Park.

The event will include tours of the new facility as well as refreshments and other fun activities. The evening will also mark the beginning of the first Farmers' Market and Beyond of the season from 4 to 7 p.m. in the South Elmwood parking lot, featuring fresh produce, hand crafted items and more.

The renovation, which began last September and concluded in January, consisted of a 1,350 square foot 30x45 addition being connected to the 900 square foot offices that were added to the old shop in 1996. Executive Director Barb Erbstoesser said that since the original shop was built in the late 1960s, the building has been added onto at least five times.

The new space includes room for eight offices, several presently occupied and others for future use, public rest rooms, a large conference room and an expanded reception area. Technology aspects of the phone and computer systems were also updated at the same time to better accommodate the needs of park district patrons and employees. "Our changes in the technology area have streamlined our registration system making it possible to register for our programs online if residents would prefer doing that," Erbstoesser noted.

The project has been in the planning stages for quite some time, but was made a priority late last year. "At times we had up to ten people working in a 30x30 space, so it was extremely overcrowded," Erbstoesser said. There are currently 14 full-time employees, with five of those in the main office area.

Consequently work finally got underway, with park district staff remaining in the facility all the while construction was going on, shifting from one spot to another as progress was made.

Erbstoesser said this current remodeling has taken the district to a new level since she first started employment 21 years ago, working out of a corner of the old shop. "The Park District has had the ability to change and grow with the community and it has been really fun to see and be a part of. All these changes have brought the administration to a new level of professionalism in being able to serve the public."

Erbstoesser welcomes and encourages everyone to stop in during the open house to view the new facility and visit with staff and park board members who will also be attending. The event will kick off with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. conducted by the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. "Stop in and see us, there will be refreshments, some special giveaways, as well as special music."

Several prime contractors were involved with the $190,000 project, which was allocated out of general fund dollars in the 2008 budget, and an additional $22,000 for siding the maintenance building from the 2009 budget.

Contractors were: YHR architects, Diversified Contractors, Inc., Sherman Plumbing and Heating, Charlie and Sons Electric and Floor Covering International. Naseth Construction is presently completing the siding on the maintenance building. The Park District maintenance staff completed the interior painting.

For more information about the West Fargo Park District or any of its programs, call 433-5360 or visit their Web site at