West Fargo, North Dakota

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West Fargo, North Dakota
Nickname(s): City on the Grow[1]
Location of West Fargo, North Dakota
Location of West Fargo, North Dakota
Coordinates: 46°52′18″N 96°53′42″W / 46.87167°N 96.89500°W / 46.87167; -96.89500Coordinates: 46°52′18″N 96°53′42″W / 46.87167°N 96.89500°W / 46.87167; -96.89500
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Cass
 • Mayor Rich Mattern
 • Total 14.72 sq mi (38.12 km2)
 • Land 14.44 sq mi (37.40 km2)
 • Water 0.28 sq mi (0.73 km2)
Elevation 896 ft (273 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 25,830
 • Estimate (2015)[4] 33,597
 • Density 1,788.8/sq mi (690.7/km2)
 • Demonym West Fargoan
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 58078
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-84780
GNIS feature ID 1032733[5]
Highways I-94, I-94 Bus., US 10
Website www.westfargond.gov

West Fargo is a city in Cass County, North Dakota, United States. It is, as of the 2015 Census Estimates, the fifth largest city in the state of North Dakota with a population estimated at 33,597,[6] and it is one of the state's fastest growing cities.[7] West Fargo was founded in 1926. The city is part of the Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area.


West Fargo is located at 46°52′18″N 96°53′42″W / 46.87167°N 96.89500°W / 46.87167; -96.89500 (46.871749, -96.894966).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.72 square miles (38.12 km2), of which, 14.44 square miles (37.40 km2) is land and 0.28 square miles (0.73 km2) is water.[2]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1940 707
1950 1,632 130.8%
1960 3,328 103.9%
1970 5,161 55.1%
1980 10,099 95.7%
1990 12,287 21.7%
2000 14,940 21.6%
2010 25,830 72.9%
Est. 2015 33,597 [9] 30.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2015 Estimate[4]

According to the 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the ancestry is as follows:

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 25,830 people, 10,348 households, and 6,823 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,788.8 inhabitants per square mile (690.7/km2). There were 10,760 housing units at an average density of 745.2 per square mile (287.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.5% White, 2.0% African American, 1.0% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 10,348 households of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.1% were non-families. 26.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 32.6 years. 26.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 32.9% were from 25 to 44; 23.2% were from 45 to 64; and 7.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.6% male and 50.4% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,940 people, 5,771 households, and 4,091 families residing in the city, however the current population of West Fargo is estimated at over 29,000 residents. The population density was 2,049.2 per square mile (791.3/km²). There were 5,968 housing units at an average density of 818.6 per square mile (316.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.40% White, 0.42% African American, 1.04% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

The top 6 ancestry groups in the city are German (47.9%), Norwegian (39.7%), Irish (8.3%), Swedish (7.2%), French (5.2%), English (4.8%).

There were 5,771 households out of which 40.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.3% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,542, and the median income for a family was $51,765. Males had a median income of $32,105 versus $22,148 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,368. About 4.7% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over.

Law and Government[edit]

The City of West Fargo is governed by a Board of City Commissioners, which consists of the President of the Board (Mayor) and four City Commissioners. The current Mayor of West Fargo is Richard Mattern.[12]

City Hall[edit]


Sharon Schacher[13] retired in 2011 after 35 years as the City of West Fargo’s Finance Director. Tina Fiske [14] replaced Schacher in that year. Two new Director positions were created: Human Resources, which was filled by Carmen Schroeder,[15] and Information Technology, which was filled by James Anderson,[16] both in 2011. In 2015, Tina Fiske was named City Administrator, replacing Jim Brownlee.[17]


City Hall's "official ground breaking was held May 9, 1975",[18] in 2005, City Hall was renovated "when the library moved to its new facility".[19] City Hall's most recent renovation concluded in 2016, which brought Building Inspections and Information Technology under the same roof and included secure underground police parking. The $19 million renovation added 34,000 square feet to City Hall.[20]

Police Department[edit]

Police Department has grown from three officers, in 1968, to its current 50 employees. “The West Fargo Police Department’s Mission is to provide quality service to residents and guests of West Fargo, ensuring a safe community by protecting their constitutional rights in the most professional manner possible.” [21] “Police officers and other City employees enforce” West Fargo City Ordinances.[22] Mike Reitan is the current Police Chief.[23] The Police Department's community program's include: Citizen Police Academy, Police Explorers Post 281, Night to Unite, Neighborhood Watch Program, TRIAD, and Crime Free Multi-Housing.[24]

Economic Development and Community Services[edit]


"The Business Development Department connects new and existing business owners and operators with city officials, helping to pave the way for the growth and expansion that is making West Fargo part of North Dakota’s new economic frontier."[25] Economic Development Director Matthew Marshall "says some of West Fargo’s growth is a reflection of the recent trendiness of the greater Fargo area, which has attracted young workers and families and translated into a low median age that businesses desire."[26] Incentives for businesses include loans (PACE Loan and Flex PACE Loan) as well as "tax incentives for purchasing, leasing, or making improvements to real property located in a North Dakota renaissance zone."[27]


In 2015, West Fargo became a "North Dakota Cares" community. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has "pledged $500,000 from his executive budget" to support "service members, veterans, families and survivors."[28]

Public Works[edit]

Public Works Department oversees Streets, Sewer and Water, Sanitation, and Forestry for The City.[29] "There are eight (8) existing wells within the City. The total pumping capacity of all wells together is 3,500 galloons per minute (5 million gallons per day)."[30] In 2014, Chris Brungardt, the former Assistant Director, was appointed as the Public Works Director.[31] Also in 2014, The West Fargo City Commission unanimously approved a "contract with Twin Cities based Waste Management to start a no-sort recycling program in the city in April."[32]

Fire Department[edit]

Fire Department is a private non-profit corporation.[33] The City of West Fargo contracts with the Fire Department for its services. The Department has three full-time employees (Fire Chief, Head Fire Inspector, and Fire Inspector) and 42 volunteers. Daniel Fuller is the current Fire Chief.[34] The Board of Directors oversees the Fire Department.[33]


The West Fargo Park District maintains 30 parks, bike paths, and facilities that include Scheels Soccer Complex, Veterans Memorial Arena, and Veterans Memorial Pool.[35] A 5-member park board oversees the Park District; Barb Erbstoesser is the Executive Director.[36] West Fargo Winter Days, an annual event, includes a Silver Snowflake Search, sleigh rides, and a chili cookoff.[37][38]

Public Library[edit]

The West Fargo Public Library is located in the Clayton A. Lodoen Center. The Library moved into its current facility in 2005.[39] Freda Hatten, the first Librarian of the West Fargo Public Library, retired in 1976.[40][41] Sandra Hannahs, the current Library Director, accepted her position in 2007, when the previous Library Director Miriam Arves resigned. Arves had been the Library Director for 31 years.[42] Janice Bober, hired in 1972, is currently the longest employed library staff member. 2012 marked Bober’s 40th anniversary with the Library.[43] In 2014, two new positions were created - a Children's Librarian and Adult Services Librarian.[44][45] In 2016, the library unveiled North Dakota's first library vending machine.[46]


  • In 2013, West Fargo was named City of the Year by the North Dakota League of Cities.[47]
  • In 2013, The West Fargo City Commission received the American Public Works Association North Dakota Chapter Project of the Year Award for the City's "Storm Sewer Improvement District numbers 4044, 4046, and 4047".[48]
  • In 2014, City Administrator Jim Brownlee was "named North Dakota League of Cities Outstanding City Employee of the Year".[49]
  • In 2014, Library Director Sandra Hannahs was named North Dakota Librarian of the Year.[50]

National Recognition[edit]

  • West Fargo has been a Tree City for 30 years.[51] Tree City USA requirements include: “maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day”.[52]
  • In 2011, West Fargo was recognized as a Playful City USA by the KaBOOM! Foundation.[53] “Playful City USA is a national recognition program sponsored by the Humana Foundation, honoring cities and towns that champion efforts to make play a priority through establishing policy initiatives, infrastructure investments and innovative programming”.[54]
  • In 2015, West Fargo was named one of North Dakota's five safest cities according to The Safewise Report which uses FBI Crime Report data to rank the safest cities[55][56]
  • In 2016, West Fargo Public Library was named North Dakota's "Amazing Library" by MSN.com[57]


West Fargo works with North Dakota Department of Transportation,[58] Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments (Metro COG),[59] and Fargo Moorhead Metro Area Transit[60] to meet the transportation needs of West Fargo citizens. In addition, The West Fargo Municipal Airport, 6 miles Northwest of Fargo, is operated by the West Fargo Airport Authority[61] and has a paved & lighted 3,300 x 50 foot runway.[62][63]


West Fargo School District[edit]

West Fargo School District serves the City of West Fargo, much of southwestern Fargo, the suburb of Reile's Acres, and the communities of Horace and Harwood. Seven West Fargo residents are elected to serve on The School Board, these residents govern the School District and serve 4-year terms.[64]

Dr. David Flowers, the current Superintendent, was hired in 2010.[65] Dr. Flowers was named the North Dakota Superintendent of the Year by the North Dakota Association of School Administrators in 2012.[66] Holly Ripley, an assistant principal at West Fargo High School, was named the 2016 National Assistant Principal of the Year.[67]


The West Fargo School District (then referred to as “School District No. 6 in Cass County”) was formed on October 9, 1876. In January 1887, Nina Hall was hired to teach two month. She was paid $40. “This first school was large enough to handle the pupils of the district until 1910 when it became necessary to build the Fairview School in the western part of the district. The two schools continued to operate until 1923.”[68] In 1922, North School[69] was built, which included two classrooms and a gymnasium.[68] The following year, Jennie Worman Colby became the first principal.[70] In 1939, a new school building was built for grades 7-12. Today the building, The Clayton A. Lodoen Community Center, houses the West Fargo Community High,[71] Clayton A. Lodoen Kindergarten Center,[72] and West Fargo Public Library.[68][73]


The City of West Fargo's growth has caused the building of new schools to meet the needs of its students: Aurora Elementary School (located in the Eagle Run development in southern West Fargo) opened for the 2007-2008 school year and Sheyenne 9th Grade Center opened August 27, 2007 as a response to the district's growing enrollment and overcrowding at West Fargo High School (2007 marks the first year the freshmen have been educated outside the High School since 1993). The Sheyenne 9th Grade Center may serve as a second middle school for West Fargo, as it was decided in March 2009 to be voted on by the public. In January 2015, Superintendent David Flowers presented a 10-year RSP Associates demographics study which “predicts the district will continue to add between 400 and more than 600 students each year”.[74][75]


The school district operates two early childhood schools (Clayton A. Lodoen Kindergarten Center and Osgood Kindergarten Center), ten elementary schools (Aurora Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, Freedom Elementary, Harwood Elementary, Horace Elementary, Independence Elementary, L.E. Berger Elementary, Liberty 5th Grade, South Elementary, and Westside Elementary), two middle schools (Cheney Middle and Liberty Middle), and three high schools (West Fargo High School, Sheyenne High, and Community High).[76]


  • Since it began in 2009, West Fargo School’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program [77] has taken top honors in multiple competitions, including: the Technology Student Association State Competition in 2012,[78] the Bison BEST competition in 2009,[79] and students won first place for Best Web Page Design at the 2009 Frontier Trails BEST Regional Robotics Competition [80]
  • In 2015, "an education partnership" was "launched to help high school students in West Fargo, Fargo and Northern Cass school districts prepare for college and 21st century technical careers." While a business partnership already exists between West Fargo High School and Microsoft, Cass County Career and Technical Education Consortium hopes to expand to industries to include "agricultural science, diesel technology, health science, aviation, information technology and engineering".[81]
  • A group of Liberty Middle School students won ‘Best of State’ in the 2014-15 & 2015-16 Verizon Innovative App Challenge.[82][83][84]

Hulbert Aquatic Facility[edit]

In 2016 the school district began construction of an $18.5 million competitive pool facility at the L.E. Berger Elementary School property. The facility will include the pool used for the USA Swimming trials for the 2016 Summer Olympics at the CenturyLink Center Omaha in which Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte competed. The Omaha pool which was built by Myrtha Pools was dismantled after the competition and moved to West Fargo. It is named for the Hulbert family which donated $1 million for the project.[85]



  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church[86]
  • Holy Cross Catholic Church[87]


  • Faith Lutheran [88]
  • Lutheran Church of the Cross[89]
  • St. Andrew Lutheran Church[90]
  • Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church[91]
  • Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church[92]


  • Flame of Faith United Methodist Church[93]


  • Community Presbyterian Church[94]

Other Denominations

  • Changing Lives Tabernacle[95]
  • Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel[96]
  • New Beginnings Assembly of God[97]
  • Prairie Heights[98]
  • Red River Church[99]
  • Shiloh Evangelical Free Church[100]


The West Fargo community supports businesses through The City of West Fargo and The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. The City of West Fargo supports business owners through The West Fargo Economic Development Advisory Committee, West Fargo Economic Development Department, and City Assessor’s Office.[101] The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a bi-state organization representing over 2,000 firms and 94,000 people. The Chamber supports its members through “advocacy, education, and engagement.” [102]

Technology companies with West Fargo locations, include:

  • Applied Industrial Technologies[103]
  • BNG Technologies[104]
  • Data Technologies Inc.[105]
  • High Point Networks[106]
  • Network Center Communications[107]
  • Norse Technologies[108]
  • Razor Tracking[109]
  • Red Chair Solutions[110]
  • TrueIT[111]

Newspapers and Magazines[edit]

West Fargo news is covered in several newspapers and magazines including:

Annual Events[edit]

Annual West Fargo events include: Big Iron, Bonanzaville Pioneer Days, Nite to Unite, Red River Valley Fair, West Fargo Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, West Fargo Shakers’ New Year's Eve Party, and West Fest. Big Iron, an annual event located at the West Fargo Fairgrounds, features farm equipment and over 900 exhibit booths. Over 87,000 attendees took part in the three-day Big Iron in 2013.[120] Bonanzaville Pioneer Days includes a parade, food, demonstrations, and tours [121][122] Nite to Unite, hosted by the West Fargo Police Department, is an annual community summer event. Past activities have included: Police, Fire, FM Ambulance, and Military demonstrations; free food; face painting; mascots; and community service display booths.[123] Red River Valley Fair includes entertainment, arts and crafts shows, livestock, fireworks, and a petting zoo[121][124] The West Fargo Public Library[125] hosts its Summer Reading Program to encourage reading for children, teens, and adults.[126] The West Fargo Shakers[127] holds an annual New Year's Eve Party on December 31, all proceeds benefit the Back Pack Program.[128] West Fest, held in September, is a community event for all ages, including a softball tournament, a pancake feed, a parade, and firefighter’s ball.[129]

Sites of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, West Fargo has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[130]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Bicentennial West Fargo-Riverside History Book Committee. (1977).Thru the years to '76. West Fargo, N.D.: J & M Printing.
  • Cushing, N. (2003). West Fargo : A work in progress. Moorhead, Minn.: Dept. of Mass Communications, Minnesota State University Moorhead.
  • Dodge, R. (2009). Prairie murders : The true story of three murders and the loss of innocence in a small North Dakota town (1st ed.). St. Cloud, Minn.: North Star Press of St. Cloud.
  • Forness, P. (1994). Seasons : Pleasant pastures on the All-Muddy River (1st. ed.). Fargo, N.D.: Prairie House.
  • Heritage Publications (Hendrum, Minn.). (2003). A Century of the Red River Valley Fair. Hendrum, MN: Heritage Publications.
  • Witham, D. (2003). Sharing a legacy : The life & times of Donovan C. Witham. West Fargo, ND?: S.n.
  • Witham, D. (2011). Always with'em : A life to remember, musings on publishing, politics, and life in a small town. West Fargo, N.D.: Donovan C. Witham.

External links[edit]