Publisher’s column: Look around and soak in efforts of region’s engineers, architects

Every city in the Prairie Business footprint probably could report a number of notable developments in the past few years

Not everybody knows the ins and outs of architecture or engineering. Sure, we laymen might grasp the general concept, but we have no real understanding of the intricacies of these two intensely complex fields.

We do, however, get to see and enjoythe results of great architecture and engineering, and there’s plenty of that lately in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

In Grand Forks, for instance, downtown is being transformed as new buildings rise. Two new events/conference centers are being built – one called The Beacon and the other The Olive Ann. Just down the street is a new five-story building called The Argyle. It’s the new home for JLG Architects.

Also downtown, Franklin on Fourth – a six-story, mixed-use development with more than 100 apartments – will start to go up later this year. A number of other new developments and renovations (too many to list within the confines of this space) also are reshaping Grand Forks.

It’s the same in Fargo. According to a report written by our sister publication, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, “the momentum for urban infill in the downtown core has paid dividends, with hundreds of new apartments and condominiums, tens of thousands of square feet of office and commercial space, plus a new hotel in the gleaming RDO Building.”

It has “transformed the core of the downtown,” Jim Gilmour, Fargo’s director of strategic planning and development, told The Forum.

Development in Sioux Falls seems to be transforming that city, too. As a native South Dakotan who spent much time there in the past, it was shocking to visit downtown Sioux Falls and some of the outer edges in November. In just a decade, so much development has happened in Sioux Falls that it truly seems like a different city.

Every city in the Prairie Business footprint – Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Bemidji, Fargo, Watertown and dozens upon dozens of communities in between – probably could report a number of notable developments in the past few years.

The point of all of this is that a deep knowledge of engineering and architecture isn’t needed to understand the value that these professionals bring to our region. For the layman, a full appreciation simply requires a visit to the downtowns of our larger communities, where their efforts are unmistakably evident.

And this also is obvious: The impact of the contemporary engineers and architects in our region will last for decades.

In this month’s edition of Prairie Business – our annual Architects and Engineers edition – read a bit about some of these good folks who are leaving a lasting legacy in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.

And next time you’re downtown in places like Fargo, Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks or Sioux Falls, take a moment to soak in the progress and growth that is happening on the backs – and brains – of these great regional businesses.