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Alerus Center not worried about plans for new Fargo convention center

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While Fargo officials debate plans for a new convention center, Alerus Center management in Grand Forks isn’t too concerned about how a Fargo facility could affect business for them.

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“Certainly it would be some competition,” said Cheryl Swanson, director of the Alerus Center, adding that she won’t comment on Fargo’s proposed center until the plans are finalized.

The idea for a Fargo convention center has been around for more than a year. Fargo Dome Authority members recommended Tuesday that the new convention center be built at the Fargodome and not downtown.

The Dome Authority’s recommendation will be sent to the Fargo City Commission for final approval, and all five city commissioners have previously said they preferred a downtown site if a new convention center is built.

Any new facility in the region would affect the Alerus Center, Swanson said, but she’s confident that Grand Forks’ facility has built a good reputation that will retain clients.

The Alerus Center has experienced a recent economic turnaround, including more than doubling its projected profits in February and March.

And a Fargo convention center could have positive effects on the Alerus Center, she said, because it could draw more attention to North Dakota as a convention spot.

“Anything that raises the level of interest in North Dakota is always a positive thing,” she said, “and then when people get here, they’ll have choices.”

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Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn. Read more of her reporting about the city of Grand Forks at citystreetbeat.areavoices.com.
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