(Fargo, ND) -- The City of Fargo and several leaders in the Fargodome are putting a measure before voters to improve and restore the entertainment venue for decades to come.
The Fargodome Authority, along with Fargo city employees, spoke at an informational conference today at City Hall. The meeting spoke on two different construction projects. The first is a $90 million dollar remodel of the existing building to include more accessible seating options, modernizing some of the amenities to meet the expectations of guests, and make additional modifications to improve efficiency within the building. The second creating a $50 million dollar 90,000 square foot addition on the south side of the Fargodome for conference center space. This would create a total of 45,000 square feet of conference space and would include a catering kitchen, a loading dock, and other areas for service.
The expansion project would be paid through a combination of a 1/4% Fargo sales tax, an additional 3% lodging fee (for a total of 13.75%), and $30 million dollars the Fargodome Authority has in their permanent fund. Fargo Commissioners John Strand and Arlette Preston say they support the project but want to ensure the sales tax caps on purchases of $2,500 or more that were on the previous Fargodome sales tax proposal is removed.
Members of the Fargodome Authority say the project would preserve of the largest assets the city has for future decades. They believe now is the best time to move forward with a project because demand for a large conference space is high, citing two convention center studies conducted in 2014 and 2017. They say by moving now, it will ensure the building will stay relevant for decades to come. Fargo's interim finance director and longtime Fargodome finance director Susan Thompson says the total bill of $131 million was built on multiple conservative assumptions.
Fargodome Authority members say approximately 55% of people who attend events at the building are non-local, and that is the reason for increased lodging fees instead of other payment methods. No property taxes are being increased by the measure.
The special election is set to take place December 5th, 2023.