After passing a city sales tax to fund a new downtown library and community center, Moorhead residents are being asked to share their vision for the new space as the project officially kicks off.
Working alongside a team of experts, the city of Moorhead and JLG Architects is soliciting public input for the next month in the form of online surveys and open houses to decide what the final design of the project will look like.
Rob Remark, lead architect with JLG, told The Forum that this phase of the project centers around public outreach. “Right now it is really about community engagement,” he said.
Remark’s team is also working with a variety of stakeholders including library leadership and the parks and recreation department to ensure the new space meets their needs for years to come.The most recent community engagement event saw great turnout, Remark said, with residents eager to share their ideas and ask questions.
Attendees left notes with their ideas on them at the June 28 event, including requests for plenty of indoor sunlight to promote wellness, and a building filled with local art surrounded by lush outdoor green spaces.
Ensuring the new space will be accessible to all abilities was top-of-mind for some residents, according to a list of public comments The Forum received from JLG, as was creating a space dedicated to the needs of older youth and teens in Moorhead.Others called for charging stations for e-bikes, covered bike parking and bike maintenance stations.
Overall the community is asking for a space that boasts four-season activities, Remark said, with an indoor playground and walking track. The desire for a “community hub” permeated most discussions Remark had with attendees, he said. Many are seeking a destination space to gather for residents and local organizations alike that captures Moorhead’s vibe.“I just feel really blessed to work with so many different community members to dream and come up with different solutions that we feel will be really valuable to the community,” Remark said.
Last November more than 64% of Moorhead residents voted to add a half-cent sales tax to finance up to nearly $31.6 million for a new library and community center. Construction of the building alone is expected to be $26 million.
The 0.5% city sales tax for the project has been in place since April 1, bringing the total sales tax in Moorhead to 7.875%. The half-cent sales tax is expected to bring in $1.6 million or more per year, which will be dedicated to the community center and public library.
As part of the push to rally community support for the sales tax, the YES5650 campaign released renderings of what the library and community center could look like. Vote YES56560 was coordinated by the Community Center/Regional Library Task Force, which is composed of 15 members including Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson.