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Creating Community Through Culture and Recreation

Fargo Park District

The first word that comes to mind when describing the staff of the Fargo Park District? Passionate.

When talking with Roger Gress, executive director of the Fargo Park District, and two of his department directors, you can’t help but want to share in the excitement they have for our community.

In addition to all the amenities the park district already offers, they have plans to add a new baseball/softball complex this summer, creating an additional 12 playing fields. They are also working on nine new parks and three additional nature conservatories to add to their 2,000 acres of existing green space.

The park district does a lot more than just maintain green spaces in Fargo. Carolyn Boutain, director of cultural activities, talked about some of the many programs the park district holds yearround: block parties, the Butterfly Ball and outdoor movie nights. This year, the park district will be expanding their block parties to include 11 neighborhoods. The parties provide a free venue for neighbors to connect and spend time outdoors.

The Butterfly Ball, which took place at the beginning of April, sold out all three nights in a matter of days. The ball is a formal fatherdaughter dance for girls, ages 4-12. It’s a great opportunity for fathers to connect in a special way with their daughter.

Clay Whittlesey, director of recreation, shared some of his programming highlights, including two programs he thinks every child in the metro should take: swimming lessons and hunter safety. Whittlesey said that while both programs are fun, they are also vital for encouraging safe habits and in some instances, saving lives.

The park district makes accessibility for all community members a priority, from special programming for new Americans to scholarships that help pay programming fees for families who wouldn’t be able to afford them without assistance.

Running such a robust schedule of programming couldn’t be done without good working relationships with the neighboring park districts in West Fargo and Moorhead, as well as the schools, city governments and community partners. “We couldn’t do these things without collaboration,” Gress said.

To see a full list of upcoming events and to register, visit www.fargoparks.com.

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