The Fargo Park District Board of Commissioners today voted unanimously to commit funds to two key projects: the construction of the Fargo Sports Complex and the remodel of the Island Park Pool. The commissioners directed Fargo Park District staff to detail funding models to determine debt financing needs and timelines for the two projects. The Board noted both projects are about improving the quality of life for people of all ages.
The Fargo Sports Complex building project will address a critically unmet need for indoor recreation facilities available to the public. This need was identified as part of a comprehensive 2016 feasibility study that included a needs assessment and prioritization of recreational facilities, amenities and programmatic needs of local sports organizations, schools, and the Fargo Park District with an emphasis on resident input. The concept calls for a highly impactful community recreation facility to accommodate indoor sports, community activities, tournaments and special events. Phase one of the project will include: 1 full size indoor soccer turf field, 4 – 6 full sized basketball courts, 1 indoor ice sheet, administrative offices, multipurpose community space and an indoor walking track. At tonight’s meeting the board voted to commit up to $38.5 million for the construction of this project.
A centrally located summer fixture, the Island Park Pool has been identified as a Priority 1 project in the District’s 10-year capital budgeting plan. The typical lifespan for an outdoor pool is 25-30 years; the current pool was constructed 44 years ago. The Fargo Park District administration has been reviewing conceptual design and cost estimates for a replacement pool at the current site. In November 2020, the Fargo Park District conducted an open survey of park users and received over 2,500 survey responses with excellent feedback on the needs of a future pool at Island Park. At tonight’s meeting the board voted to commit up to $16 million for the remodel and replacement pool. Staff will continue to work toward finalizing a project plan and timeline.
At tonight’s meeting, the Board underscored the two projects as a forward-thinking approach to overall community wellness in our region. The Fargo Sports Complex will benefit more than 13,000 kids in our community in its first year of operation. Community pools, like the Island Park Pool, are key to providing necessary water safety education to the youth of our community. Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4. The team at the Fargo Park District is proud to make a difference by providing swimming lessons to more than 900 participants each year.
“The Fargo Park District’s commitment today adds to the $21.5 million in private dollars already committed to the Fargo Sports Complex. The Fargo Park District Foundation will continue their work to raise the remaining funds to reach the anticipated $77 million for this project to move forward” said Stacey Griggs, Fargo Park Board President. “This project is key to broadening the accessibility of recreational and seasonal opportunities in the community for both the public and our wide variety of user groups and partners who currently are limited by mother nature and space constraints beyond their control.”
At the Fargo Park District Board Retreat on February 24, 2021, the commissioners reviewed the 10-year capital plan and discussed in detail that while these are two separate projects, they are both projects requiring action. Taking a strategic and visionary approach to funding major projects of this significance, Commissioners discussed the option of packaging the Island Park pool project and the Fargo Sports Complex from a debt issuance perspective as a way of maximizing project completion while minimizing long-term financing costs.
“Over the past 15 years, cities throughout the state have undertaken indoor multipurpose projects. Communities like Williston, Dickinson, Mandan, West Fargo and more have benefited from these projects,” shared Dave Leker, Fargo Park District Executive Director. “Those communities paid for those projects with public funds through sales or property tax increases. What sets the Fargo Sports Complex apart is that this project is one of the few that that will be constructed through strong private-public partnerships.”
The Board noted the Fargo Park District Foundation will continue to raise funds for the Fargo Sports Complex project by seeking community partners.
For more information on the Fargo Sports Complex please visit the project page here.