Protecting From The River Could Also Create A New Beautiful Space Downtown

The cheapest protection for downtown would not likely provide the greatest community value. If we look at this protection as an opportunity to create a beautiful community space connecting downtown to the river, the best is yet to come.

Here’s a video from Todd Kurtz of Wday of last nights 5 – 0 vote to explore the technical feasibility.



Thanks to Professor Madani and these incredible young talents for sharing their visions for creating a beautiful community space in the area east of the Civic Plaza where permanent flood protection will be built.

Thanks to the 2012 NDSU 5th year Landscape Architect students shared their beautiful concepts for introducing our revitalizing downtown to the under appreciated riverfront.


The broadcast will also be available online at:

Revitalizing our city’s core is ongoing and many of the successful projects like Broadway’s redesign, new Main Ave bridge and riverfront area there were derived from community planning work in the 2002 Downtown Framework plan, 2003 Riverfront DevelopmentPlan, 2007 Framework Plan, and fits with key initiatives from 8,000 engaged citizens for Fargo GO2030 that is ongoing to implement these plans.

These pictures below are just a few examples of why we need permanent flood protection and to use this opportunity to create a beautiful new space connecting downtown to the riverfront.

We have to wait until the water rises 6′ above flood stage to even start to build this clay dike. In 2006 it was built twice.

I shot this from the top of the new main library in 2009.  The clay dike had to be fortified as it was close to failure.  We must do better

This is a large ground fault west of second street in the civic lot hat is getting worse over the years. Moving 2nd St and permanent flood protection a bit west away from the river gets to about 3′ higher ground, gives the river more capacity, and more stable ground.

This is a flood protection project in Napa, CA.  They don’t have the clay we do, so they built it close to the water

Here’s an example of another flood control project overlayed in our footprint. backing away from the river puts protection on higher ground, avoids slumping, and adds capacity.

Here’s a cool little tool you can use to zoom in and out of related images:

We have a wonderful opportunity to make this riverfront area not only permanent protection, but 2nd Ave as a wonderful gateway to the riverfront as described in the downtown 2002 Framework plan that was the basis for Broadway.  The 2003 Riverfront plan, and the 2007 Downtown framework plan all emphasize embracing the river that adds huge value.   It’s important to not just put up a bare bones “Berlin wall” to protect downtown.
Let’s build a beautiful amenity that adds aesthetically and functions as a community gathering place by backing away from the river to avoid the continuous slumping, add capacity and greenway recreation opportunities on the downtown riverfront.
 Working together and building on the many years of planning for downtown and the river,  the best is yet to come!  Mike
There are many examples of turning downtown flood protection into beautiful community gathering spaces;  The Forks in Winnipeg, The Confluence in Denver, Falls Park in Sioux Falls, Waterloo IA
Sioux Falls parkConfluence in DenverThe Forks in Winnipeg