"Game Changer" Projects Might be Headed for Downtown Bismarck - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

"Game Changer" Projects Might be Headed for Downtown Bismarck

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Depot Plaza:  Proposed transformation of Fiesta Villa parking lot Depot Plaza: Proposed transformation of Fiesta Villa parking lot
Proposed Fifth Street Skybridge Proposed Fifth Street Skybridge
Proposed Main Avenue Proposed Main Avenue

Is downtown Bismarck ready for prime time?  Crandall Arambula of Portland, Oregon, a well-known urban design consulting firm, thinks so.

The group presented the City Commission with what it says are "game changer" projects for downtown.  What is now the parking lot of Fiesta Villa would become the centerpiece of the plan -- Depot Plaza -- transforming the area into a public gathering place.  Other ideas include changing Main Avenue to three lanes and adding a promenade sky bridge over Fifth Street.

Having successfully helped other cities do similar projects, the firm says typically, every dollar of public money invested attracts $14 of private investment.  "Developers understand that they can be successful here, that you are doing some great things to change the investment environment," says George Crandall of Crandall Arambula.  

"Really, downtown is the community's living room and we're going to try and make it as cool as possible," says Kate Herzog, Downtowners Bismarck.

Tomorrow night is the last chance for the public to offer direction on the draft implementation plan.  A public meeting will be held at the Civic Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m., when everyone who shows up gets the chance to vote on the plan.


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