(Fargo, ND) – The measure to support the expansion of the FARGODOME and the addition of the conference center has failed.
Though 4,122 voters approved the measure, the 60 percent majority was not met. Nearly eight thousand voters cast a ballot.
“The people of Fargo have spoken. But the fact remains that the FARGODOME needs critical upgrades and our community needs a conference center. Right now, we cannot compete with neighboring cities in attracting conferences and conventions that would elevate Fargo’s economy and generate tax revenue. We will regroup and decide next steps over the coming months,” Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney said.
Fargo Dome Authority member Dave Suppes noted the efficiencies that would have resulted from attaching a conference center to the FARGODOME.
“While we respect the voters’ wishes, we are certainly disappointed with today’s results. The Fargo Dome Authority remains convinced that including the conference center proposal on this vote was the best option for our community at this point in time. Having this facility on the same site as the FARGODOME would have saved taxpayer money in operating and staffing the entire facility in a time of workforce challenges,” Suppes said. “We should look to Grand Forks, a neighboring community that is improving the amenities at its conference center. We need to be on par with regional cities so we can compete.”
Along with a conference center, the $140 million project would have added restrooms, enhanced crowd circulation and created more concessions and seating options at the City-owned FARGODOME. It would have also updated accessibility in the 31-year-old facility to comply with changes in The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“FARGODOME patrons know the venue needs accessibility updates and more restrooms, especially for women. Without more concessions, the FARGODOME is losing sales revenue,” said FARGODOME General Manager Rob Sobolik. “These updates would have been paid for by FARGODOME users through the facility’s Permanent Fund and by residents and visitors through a 0.25% sales tax increase. We felt that having specific funding sources for the FARGODOME updates and another funding source for the conference center made the most sense for this project.”