West Fargo City Commissioner expresses reservations over possible new "taproom operation" downtown

Image by WDAY News Staff - Tom Tucker
Image by WDAY News Staff - Tom Tucker

(Fargo, ND) -- A West Fargo city commissioner is expressing reservations about the possibility of Junkyard Brewing opening a new taproom in the old Bell Bank building downtown.

The owner of Junkyard Brewing Company in Moorhead is applying for a 5 year property tax exemption for a "taproom operation" at the property at 409 Sheyenne Street.

Commissioner Robin Anderson, who lives near the building says he's excited to see what new businesses might open in the downtown area.

But he also says he'd like to see businesses move in that are family friendly, and are able to cater to the children in the neighborhood.

"When we look at development of Sheyenne Street, in the past the commission has raised concerns. They've wanted to see more differentiation from other cities. So when I look at differentiation, I feel like people are going to other downtowns in the area to go to these alcohol establishments and Sheyenne Street, is that something that we want to have as a way to differentiate?" said Anderson.  

Despite the commissioner's apparent reservations, some business owners and operators who spoke with WDAY News First, along with a resident who lives across the street from the old bank building, support the idea of Junkyard moving in.

"That sounds really exciting for the area. I think that would be a good addition to the neighborhood down here, and I'm excited at the possibility," said Skyler Dutton, co-founder and General Manager of Thunder Coffee.

"Yeah, absolutely, I'm all for it. I have no opposition for it. Sounds like a great idea. The more business the better," said Zander Baker, who lives in an apartment on Sheyenne Street.

One homeowner who lives a block away from the old bank building was not enthused about a taproom opening nearby, and expressed concerns about potential parking issues.

Aaron Juhnke, the owner of Junkyard Brewing, turned down a request for comment.

On February 21st, The City of West Fargo will host a public hearing regarding Junkyard's application for the tax exemption. The meeting takes place at 5:30 at City Hall.