• Mayors talk growth and goals at 2020 State of the Cities

  • Mayors talk growth and goals at 2020 State of the Cities

    Mayors talk growth and goals at 2020 State of the Cities

    Challenges, opportunities, growth, goals and successes from the past year were discussed by our area’s mayors at the January State of the Cities event at the Hilton Garden Inn. Xcel Energy’s Mark Nisbet and The Flag’s Steve Hallstrom emceed. Themes included work focused on mental health, affordable childcare, housing and infrastructure, and opportunities to collaborate and serve the needs of our community. Some of the highlights and updates from each city are below.

         From The Forum: "Construction projects, notable deaths dominate State of the Cities"

    Chad Olson, Dilworth
    Dilworth’s mayor shared that their city had earned a Minnesota GreenStep Cities designation, showing their work toward sustainability and quality of life standards. The goals they were focused on were in the areas of resource consumption and reduction, civic innovation and fiscal responsibility, achieved through work with various partners. In 2019 they, worked with Xcel Energy to reduce their city-wide energy consumption, continued water and sewer agreements with Moorhead, and instituted single-sort recycling.

    Another significant step was the passing of a school referendum will ensure that DGF facilities “are of the same high caliber as the top-tier educators that we entrust our children with every day,” and mentioned that new home growth in the city should follow. He also offered touching comments on the deaths of a few key Dilworth city leaders, and Craig Whitney.

    Johnathan Judd, Moorhead
    Mayor Judd exuded pride for his city and called Moorhead a “rising metro,” touching on various business and school expansions, amenities and arts offerings, infrastructure improvements, calling out several people that are leading the city and our community, and praising many successes from the year.

    Some highlights include the $110 million school referendum that passed, which will be used to build a new high school and turn the former Sam’s Club into a career academy. Block E was completed at Eighth Street and Main Avenue, featuring both commercial and housing space. Work continues on the 21st Street underpass project. In 2020, they will be working to figure out how to meet the resident’s needs for a community center.

    To cultivate the next round of our entrepreneurs and leaders, he challenged all in attendance to answer the demand for a diverse workforce. “We, as a city, are going to answer this demand in our region regarding workforce issues and creating and establishing a strong, diverse workforce for everyone.”

    What we do collectively to better our community, is why our work matters, he closed with. “We will come together to transform any obstacles into rewarding opportunities.”


    Click here to view Moorhead's slides


    Tim Mahoney, Fargo
    Mayor Mahoney shared Fargo’s new #FarMore vision for 2020, in which the city is “committed to building a better city, serving our people and shaping the future.” He also touted the NDSU Bison, Fargodome, talked about traffic innovations, the partnership with Hector International Airport, and last year’s flood fight.

    Some successful projects from 2019 include the 52nd Avenue South reconstruction, Main Avenue roundabout, new police department headquarters, improvements to the city’s water treatment plant and new high-tech meeting chambers for the City Commission.

    Future focus is going toward the building of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project, which will provide the metro access to Missouri River water in times of drought. He also mentioned the approval voting system, new infrastructure funding policy, core neighborhoods study, and encouraged residents to become more involved. “The state of our city is strong,” Mahoney declared.


    Click here to view Fargo's slides


    Bernie Dardis, West Fargo
    In our region’s fastest-growing city, West Fargo is seeing median household income at about $75k—which is 40% higher than the rest of North Dakota.

    Some specific wins from the past year include being named the safest city in North Dakota for the second year in a row; receiving the Main Street Excellence Award by Gov. Doug Burgum for downtown redevelopment efforts; the establishment of the West Fargo Fire Department as an official city department; expansion of the Rustad Recreation Center and completion of the Sheyenne Street reconstruction project. The Gateway West development brought the first Hornbacher’s to the city, Pioneer Place opened downtown, and the Lights at Sheyenne 32 is in progress. At the schools, Deer Creek Elementary opened and construction began on Heritage Middle School. They also launched North Dakota’s first electric school bus.

    One challenge they’re working to address is how to best plan infrastructure improvements in the city’s older neighborhoods and tackling mental health and affordable housing. Dardis thanked all their partners that help achieve successes are dedicated to making the community better.


    Click here to view West Fargo's slides


    We asked, you answered
    We also conducted live audience polls to find out where they sit on various issues. We learned that the majority felt that workforce was our region’s biggest issue, followed by behavioral and mental health, and flood protection—the same results as last year. Attendees also felt that in ND, Legacy Fund earnings should go toward workforce development and career/tech education, and in MN, the budget surplus should be used for tax relief. Here are the official results.

    Question 1

    Question 2


    Question 3


    At the end of the mayors’ presentations and live polling, attendees got the opportunity to ask questions of their own. We thank all of our attendees, sponsors and elected officials for their support of this event.

    Check out some of these Tweets from the event!

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