April 16, 2014

City Overview

HISTORY

West Fargo, North Dakota, has an estimated population of 30,000. West Fargo has a warm, friendly, small town atmosphere, complemented by metropolitan area advantages.

In 1917, Equity Cooperative Packing Company began construction of its plant in what was called West Fargo. In 1925, Armour and Company bought out the plant and housing for employees, which had been built north of the highway. Residents living there were asked to move from their homes, with many relocating south of the highway to form their own village.

As West Fargo industry grew rapidly on the north side of the highway, so did the population on the south side of the highway. In 1937, the area south of the highway was incorporated into the village of Southwest Fargo. At that time it was the largest village in Cass County, with a population of 538. There were 138 houses, 2 grocery stores, 10 other businesses and a doctor. Bakery and laundry wagons from Fargo made regular calls in the two municipalities. The Village of West Fargo became a city in 1947. The area continued to grow and now included a large farm distribution center, large feed mills, a pelleting plant, manufacturers, retail, meat processing and distribution plants along with Union Stockyards.

In 1967, at a special election, the residents agreed to change the names of their two cities. West Fargo, on the north side of the highway, became West Fargo Industrial Park with Southwest Fargo, on the south side of the highway becoming the City of West Fargo.

The population of West Fargo in the 1970 census was 5,161, an increase of 55% over 1960. This growth made West Fargo the fastest growing city in North Dakota and the 13th largest. In 1974, the West Fargo Industrial Park became the city of Riverside, with a population of around 500. In 1989, the City of West Fargo and the City of Riverside consolidated to form one city, keeping the name West Fargo. The consolidation of the two cities was the first of its kind in North Dakota.

The future of West Fargo is positive, as businesses expand and residential areas grow. West Fargo is currently the 5th largest city in North Dakota. The city of West Fargo continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the state of North Dakota. West Fargo started the decade with 14,940 residents.  The population of the City of West Fargo is now estimated at 25,830 which is a 73% increase between 2000 and 2010.

LAND USE

West Fargo encompasses approximately 9,729 acres of land. Land use is as follows:

  • Residential 2,202 acres
  • Transportation/Utilities 2,434 acres
  • Commercial 238 acres
  • Undeveloped 3,447 acres  
  • Industrial 762 acres  
  • Public/Semi Public 310 acres 
  • Parks 336 acres 

WEATHER

Our area enjoys the variety of four seasons. The warmest month being July with the average summer temperatures being 70-82 degrees. Average rainfall equals 20.9 inches. The coldest month is January, with the average temperatures being 4-13 degrees; average precipitation equals 39 inches.

SCHOOLS

All grades K-12 in the West Fargo School District are accredited by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and the North Central Association (N.C.A.) of Colleges and Schools. Enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year totals 6,951 students. The West Fargo School District employs 1,150 employees. West Fargo residents have the opportunity to further any educational interest with four universities located in the metropolitan area as well as several vocational schools and business colleges.

CITY GOVERNMENT

West Fargo is served by a Commission Home Rule Charter, with Rich Mattern as Mayor. As a whole, the City of West Fargo employs 108 people. West Fargo is served by a volunteer Fire Department consisting of 42 volunteers, a paid Fire Chief and paid Head Fire Inspector and Fire Inspector. The Police Department employs 45 people and has 7 volunteers.

MEDIA

Media coverage includes a local weekly newspaper, The West Fargo Pioneer, two weekly shopping guides, The Midweek Eagle and The Midweek Plus. West Fargo residents can choose from a variety of cable companies. West Fargo is also served by a daily newspaper, The Forum, five television networks and many radio stations.

QUALITY OF LIVING

West Fargo has three medical clinics, two optical clinics, five dental clinics and three chiropractic clinics. There is accessibility to three area hospitals. Sixteen churches are located in West Fargo with five financial institutions serving the community. Low crime rates, an excellent school system and personal, as well as community pride offer a quality of living that ranks West Fargo with the best.

UTILITIES

West Fargo's utilities are provided by Cass County Electric and Northern States Power. Telephone service is provided by a wide variety of companies. Water, sewer and garbage are provided by the city.

RECREATION

Over 336 acres of recreational parks provide a good variety of recreation for area residents, including eight softball fields, two baseball fields, a tennis court complex, soccer field complex, and an outdoor swimming pool. An Olympic size indoor pool is located at the L.E. Berger Elementary School. Residents also enjoy the use of a multi-sports facility which includes a year-around walking/jogging track, community room, summer tennis and volleyball courts, basketball hoops, and an official NHL size ice rink in the winter months. Additionally, there are seven golf courses in the area.

HOUSING

In 2009 West Fargo had an estimated 10,727 dwelling units, with new developments appearing all over the city. The average sale price of preowned single family structures in West Fargo, in 2009, according to the FM Area Association of Realtors was $186,363.  Apartment rent varies greatly from $450 on average for a 1-bedroom unit to as high as $1,450 for a 3-bedroom high-end unit. 

TAXES

Both industry and residents benefit from the .5% county tax, 1% city tax, 5% state tax for at total of 6.5%

TOURISM

West Fargo hosts attractions such as Bonanzaville USA, the Red River Valley Fairgrounds & Speedway, The Pioneer Shopping Center and the West Acres Shopping Center, bringing several thousand visitors through our community yearly.