Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
May 23rd, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Lyle Hovland, Wilkin County Commissioner and Director, Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Does Moorhead Councilman Mark Hintermeyer really expect people to take him seriously? Last week he complained about billboards the N.D. Chamber of Commerce posted in Moorhead as part of a campaign to lure Minnesota businesses over to the North Dakota side.
His words are not unlike Captain Renault complaining about gambling going on at Rick’s in Casablanca. Hintermeyer, his fellow Moorhead council members and the Clay County Commissioners have just about secured Fargo’s future development program that promises to sap and neutralize the natural advantages Moorhead and the surrounding Minnesota communities enjoy for future residential and commercial development.
On high ground, most of Moorhead, and all of Barnesville, Dilworth and Glyndon, Minn., have nothing to fear from the Red River flooding. The low lying area of Moorhead that does have a concern now has permanent flood protection thanks to Minnesota taxpayers. Because of this high ground, Minnesota is the natural choice for flood-free future development in the FM Metro. The cost of development is much cheaper as water is not an issue. The U.S. Army Corps has even commented that additional growth and development on the Minnesota side is the obvious alternative to Fargo’s huge dam and diversion. One might even conclude that expanded commercial and residential development in Moorhead would be the natural result if the FM Diversion project was scaled back so as to protect Fargo rather than to subsidize its future development. Fargo’s development south would not occur but for the support and complicity of Hintermeyer and his fellow city and county leaders.
In addition to sacrificing Moorhead’s competitive edge, Hintermeyer and his peers have also signed on to flood the Comstock, Minn., community and thousands of acres of rural Clay and Wilkin counties in Minnesota. Water that naturally pools on the 40-square-miles of Cass County, N.D., flood plain, or as Fargo leaders call it; Fargo’s future economic engine. This water will be held for weeks in Minnesota behind a 12-mile-wide dam on the Red River.
Some months ago Moorhead’s Mayor Voxland appeared on the local evening news to explain why he was pledging Minnesota taxpayer money and support for Fargo’s dam and diversion. He explained the reason he supported the diversion was because Moorhead residents work in Fargo.
It is no mystery why people representing Fargo’s realtors and Chamber of Commerce were the biggest delegation at the N.D. Capitol to support the FM Diversion. Hemmed in by Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace and Harwood, Fargo’s developers can only go south. Cass County south of Fargo is flood plain and becomes a lake whenever there is even moderate flooding. Development south requires the dam and diversion to push and hold this water onto someone else. If the dam and diversion become a reality, Moorhead and Clay County leaders will be able to pat themselves on the back as Moorhead, having sacrificed its natural edge, continues to send its residents across the river to work Fargo’s economic engine.
Further congratulations may be traded as they watch rural Clay and Wilkin counties bear the water and the burden of Fargo’s expanded development of the flood plain.