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Four Area Mayors Layout Goals in the "State of the Cities" Addre - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Four Area Mayors Layout Goals in the "State of the Cities" Address

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The mayors of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Dilworth gathered Thursday morning for the chamber's annual State of the Cities address. It is a progress report of the successes and challenges the Fargo-Moorhead area faces.

It was an interactive State of the Cities address, asking the audience to vote on the top five issues facing our communities. It's likely no surprise that the issue raising the most concern and support from all the mayors is flood protection.

"We're gonna spend somewhere close to forty million dollars downtown, we're continuing to buy property up and down the Red River here in the city of Fargo but that's only part of the issue," explains Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker. "The diversion needs to be built and it needs to start soon.  We are a strong economic community there are business opportunities there are employment opportunities and as such we have to protect our investment." 

Second, the mayors discussed workforce. Newly-elected Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams said she would like to see a K through 12 stem built in Moorhead.

"It starts at the K-12 level and how we get our own kids excited about that stuff because of course we want them to stay we don't want them moving off we want them to be that workforce that our industry needs," Williams says. 

Lowering taxes, arts and entertainment were also all topics of discussion, but what about growth? West Fargo continues to boom, adding 400 jobs just last year, but West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern admits they are not where they want to be yet.

"Fact is we're still retail poor we've added a lot of business but when you drive around and look at how many houses we've added the retail is not keeping up." Mattern says.

The mayors did all agreed that the growth in the southern valley is exciting and they are looking forward to a successful and positive 2014.  This is the first year the chamber included the text-in survey and questions, making it an interactive address.

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