Following the recent federal court ruling, there has been a considerable discussion within our community regarding the status of permanent flood protection. We know all too well that this area and its people have faced flooding challenges countless times during the last century. It is an issue that is bigger than Fargo or Cass County and that is why I am encouraged by the recent conversations between North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. I remain hopeful that the recent actions of the two governors will help us to attain the ultimate project needed to protect the greater Fargo-Moorhead metro area. I truly view this ruling as a blessing in disguise, which harbors the potential of returning us to open discussions rather than engaging in expensive lawsuits.
I am incredibly grateful to those in Fargo and the surrounding communities who have continued to support the efforts to obtain permanent protection over the last eight years. It goes without saying that this has not been easy, but multi-generational projects never are. I appreciate those who watched with a patient, but persistent, interest as your local elected leaders worked together to implement an extraordinarily complex system of flood protection spanning numerous political boundaries. I want to specifically acknowledge the hundreds of families who have been asked to sacrifice their homes in order to allow the construction of levees and floodwalls. You have given of yourselves for the greater good of this community, and words cannot adequately acknowledge that.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the sales tax initiatives to give us the resources needed to purchase property and build protection. Let me assure all of you that we are working diligently on our in-town flood protection projects and this work will continue as we strive to achieve consensus on the FM Diversion Project. This Congressionally authorized flood protection plan, developed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was designed to provide the permanent protection needed in our community. The Army Corps has been a good partner in helping to develop a solution. As you all know, we have found ourselves in litigation over the project for the last four years. Litigation is not a good way to solve problems, but it does sometime facilitate challenging discussion and help bring parties together over time.
With involvement at the highest levels from both states, I am confident we can collaborate to build upon the work already done and can make changes to the existing plan to accommodate the interests of the parties involved. This includes a stronger commitment to better and more frequent communication with those who may be impacted.
As your mayor, I am reaffirming my commitment to finding solutions that serve the interests of Fargo and our local partners in Moorhead, Cass County, Clay County and with those across North Dakota and Minnesota. We need to capitalize on the work already done by both states and the Army Corps in identifying the risks, alternatives and potential impacts of this multifaceted project. However, let us never forget that the threat of flooding is ever-present, and seemingly growing. Mother Nature will not wait for us and we cannot risk losing our community to an epic flood. We need to safeguard the public safety of our community, its people and the jobs located here.
The City of Fargo is steadfastly committed to implementing real, permanent flood protection and stands ready to alter the current project to serve the interests of both states. We are truly in this flood fight together and that is the way we should approach this opportunity.
Tim Mahoney, Mayor
City of Fargo