West Fargo has been working to keep up with its fast growth and build a destination downtown for a number of years, but last week the city was honored by the governor and state for its efforts.
Gov. Doug Burgum awarded West Fargo the 2019 Main Street Excellence Award, which honors communities that show excellence in elevating the three pillars of the Main Street Initiative: smart, efficient infrastructure; 21st-century workforce; and healthy, vibrant communities.
“West Fargo has gone above and beyond to differentiate the community and improve the quality of life for the benefit of current residents and to help attract new residents,” Burgum said in a statement. “With deepest gratitude, we recognize West Fargo with this award for dedication and efforts to enhance its vibrant community.”
In 2015, West Fargo partnered with Todd Berning-led development groups to begin the $40 million Sheyenne Street project, which includes Sheyenne Plaza, Pioneer Place, the POW/MIA Plaza and three other mixed use-buildings still under development.
The city also worked with the West Fargo School District and private developers on the Lights on Sheyenne 32 project, which include additional mixed use buildings, the first city owned parking ramp and a public plaza on south Sheyenne Street.
The Main Street Excellence Award is presented to communities in levels based on population. The small town of Milnor was also awarded the Main Street Excellence Award for successfully completing 52 projects; assisting local entrepreneurs and businesses; facilitating and supporting a nonprofit to provide day care services; improving quality of life by bringing natural gas and cellphone coverage to the community; providing youth workforce services; and creating a vibrant community by planting trees across the community.
The Main Street awards are presented by the governor's office, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and North Dakota State University Extension.
During the awards ceremony, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said West Fargo has worked to increase the tax base and community engagement to ensure the community is an enjoyable and affordable place for citizens to live and work.
“These projects have used existing infrastructure to reduce the cost of construction and operation for the community and improve the density of their downtown," Sanford said. “These projects have also promoted vibrancy in the community by creating new shared spaces for the community to gather and enjoy music and dancing, food and company.”
Along with the city, the local Arts Partnership, which is composed of Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead, was recognized with the 2019 Main Street Differentiator Award.
The Differentiator Award recognizes a community that finds its unique strength, community asset or niche and uses it to enhance residents’ quality of life.
The Arts Partnership has led the community in countless ways, including enhancing the local quality of life and attracting businesses, workforce and visitors by leveraging unique assets and qualities from the arts sector.