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Grand Forks DDA wraps up improvements on Town Square

Several of the improvements made to Town Square wrapped up just in time for the UND Homecoming Pep Rally, which the Downtown Development Association partnered with UND to hold, on Sept. 28.

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(L-R) Svea Benefield, Blue Weber and Jill Proctor of the Downtown Development Association, check out the new picnic tables and other updates to the Town Square in downtown Grand Forks, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – Musical instruments, giant game sets, workout equipment, fire pits and an overall cleaner space are some of the improvements people are able to enjoy in the newly enhanced Town Square.

Several of the improvements made to Town Square wrapped up just in time for the UND Homecoming pep rally, which the Downtown Development Association partnered with UND to hold, on Sept. 28.

Blue Weber, president/CEO of the DDA, Jill Proctor, COO, and Svea Benefield, vice president of marketing, said they were excited to show off the space for the event.

“It’s always our goal to welcome students downtown, and especially let their families know that there’s a place for students to come downtown that is family orientated and they can come and be part of the community,” Proctor said. “We’re pretty honored to have the opportunity.”

While the game sets and fire pits are a few of the immediate enhancements people will notice, some of the infrastructure-related improvements to the space involved replacing light bulbs, adding new electrical receptacles, leveling concrete pavers as well as painting tables, bike racks and the remaining light poles to freshen up the space.

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Proctor said the DDA staff completed tasks such as changing out the lights and painting, but they also received help on some of the larger projects. Opp Construction leveled the pavers while electricians did all the electrical work on the space. During Lowe’s Red Vest Day, local Lowe’s associates helped place the musical instruments and work out equipment as well as build a shed located behind the stage that will house the place-making pieces when they aren’t out.

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People gather in Town Square for the first ever Homecoming Pep Rally on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The pep rally was hosted by the Downtown Development Association.
Meghan Arbegast/Grand Forks Herald

Proctor said there have been some delays in getting all of the improvements they want to make on the space done. Some of those delayed improvements include replacing the red plexiglass on the stage and painting the roof of the stage.

There also were some changes the DDA had to make to their plans as the musical instruments Proctor said they were initially going to order wouldn’t have been ready in time.

“Lowe’s made it very clear to us that you’re going to have to come up with another plan if you can't get what it is that you want, so we just did the best we could,” Proctor said.

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Blue Weber, CEO of the Downtown Development Association, checks out one of the new musical instruments at the Town Square in Grand Forks.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

More seating will be placed as CoPilot Designs is making custom stools and in the spring Midco will provide free Wi-Fi for the space.

Funding for the improvements was made possible through a $100,000 Lowe’s Hometown grant the DDA received in June. Additionally, Visit Greater Grand Forks invested in the outdoor musical instruments and the Myra Foundation provided a grant for the fire pits.

For maintaining the space, Proctor said the DDA will partner with the city depending on what needs to be done.

Overall, Proctor said she is happy with seeing how the space is now being.

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“Seeing so soon, like during the day where we’d normally see nothing or six, seven people consuming alcohol and being loud and unwelcoming to now we have people eating their lunch and coming and sitting here, which is exactly what we’d hoped for,” Proctor said.

Related Topics: CITY OF GRAND FORKS
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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