FARGO, N.D.-A parking ramp going into a new Downtown Fargo skyscraper is being paid for by taxpayers.

But some city leaders are saying the project will actually lower tax rates in the long run.

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With it comes a $15 million project being paid for by the city. It includes the tower's parking ramp, sky way and a multi use plaza.

After hearing this project will start coming out of her pocket, this taxpayer was livid.

"Why do we need a new garage?" exclaimed Haven Kennedy, a Fargo resident. "Why do we need these new things when we are struggling as a city? The Kilbourne Group has been more or less killing downtown. There are more empty buildings than there have been before."

Commissioners voted 4-1 on Monday, giving the seal of approval to this deal with Kilbourne.


The city will fund its construction and Kilbourne will gradually pay back the city over time.

Commissioner Tony Gehrig gave the only no vote, saying it's not fair to give corporations special treatment.

"These businesses are not paying their taxes while you are at the same time," he said. "So no, it's not a fair system."

Block 9 isn't the only downtown building to get tax incentives from the city.

They helped fund things like the Radisson Hotel, the Black Building and RoCo parking ramp back when this part of town was under developed.

"A lot of those projects happened many many years ago when it was required," Gehrig said. "It is no longer required."

The city's Director of Strategic Planning, Jim Gilmour, says Block 9 is worth it.

"By far will easily be worth it," Gilmour added.

He says this project will actually lower property taxes when the tower is built.

"People will see no increase in property taxes, they will see no increase in parking fees as a result of this," Gilmour said. "In a long term, they'll see a reduction in property taxes as the downtown economic activity goes higher."

Gilmour says Block 9's parking garage will be free to use, except on days with special events.

He expects the new business spaces, hotel and public plaza to boost the city's economy when the skyscraper is complete.