In an effort toward making Sheyenne Street a downtown destination for West Fargo, the City Commission is looking at creating an entertainment district along north Sheyenne near Main Avenue and farther south, where Lights on Sheyenne 32 is being built.

Planning Director Tim Solberg said Monday, Dec. 2, that creating a mixed-use downtown and entertainment district would replace what is considered the Sheyenne and Main Avenue Corridor Overlay districts and would allow for different zoning and plans moving forward for the two areas that would create a “better connected village core.”

Designating the two areas as districts would allow the city to move forward with designing parking plans, sidewalks, signage and other facility plans. Solberg said the city would likely want to ban certain businesses, such as adult entertainment, behavioral health facilities or heavy industrial businesses, from the district.

Solberg said Monday's public hearing regarding the change was just a first reading of the district designation and the public would have many more opportunities to comment to the City Commission before zoning changes or final plans are made.

“There has been a tremendous amount of public input to create these districts,” Solberg said.

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Resident Roben Anderson said the commission should study the parking options closely before making final decisions as on-street parking in mixed-use areas can become a safety issue.

Dustin Murray, who lives near northern Sheyenne, said while he has liked many of the changes to downtown Sheyenne, he, like many of his neighbors, are concerned the new district designation would put his home in a commercial area.

Farther south, West Fargo's first city-owned parking ramp, along with three mixed-use buildings and an outdoor public pavilion, is being built on about 6.3 acres near the corner of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue.

The $54 million project is led by Todd Berning and his associates, who headed the Sheyenne Plaza and Pioneer Place projects on the north end of Sheyenne Street. The project is near the West Fargo Sports Arena and will be home to retail, restaurants and residential space.

Mike Graham, who lives near the Lights at Sheyenne 32, supported the change.

“This ordinance change is great," he said. “Everyone will be able to use these districts. It’s great for the city of West Fargo to host events. I think it’s a win-win. I don’t see any negativity coming out of it as a neighbor.”