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Grand Forks: Economy

Grand Forks: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Grand Forks has a stable, agriculturally-based economy that has been expanding and diversifying since the early 1980s. Abundant moisture assists the growth of the hard spring wheat, corn, oats, sunflowers, durum, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, dry edible beans, soybeans, and flax that represent its major crops. Cattle, sheep and hogs also contribute to the local farm economy. Plants operate for the processing of potatoes, for the conversion of locally grown mustard seed for table and commercial use, for the refining of beets into sugar, and for the pearling of barley. Much of the area's durum wheat is marketed through the North Dakota State Mill and Elevator.

While in the early 1980s almost all businesses were agriculturally based, other enterprises such as high-technology firms, a wood products company, and concrete firms now play an important role in the local economy. Some important local firms include: J. R. Simplot, which processes potatoes and other foods; American Woods, a relatively new company that produces outdoor lawn furniture; Strata Corporation, which produces ready-mix concrete and handles asphalt and masonry; the American Crystal Sugar refinery; Young Manufacturing, which custom designs, engineers, and manufactures metal products; Energy Research Center, which conducts research on energy-related products; and R. D. O., which deals in processed foods. In 2001 and 2002, after its 1999 acquisition of Acme Tool Crib of the North, Internet retailer Amazon.com expanded and located a portion of its customer service operations in Grand Forks. Amazon.com is now one of the region's top employers.

The University of North Dakota (UND) is a major contributor to the city's economic life as well as its cultural and entertainment life. UND is the second largest employer in the state.

Grand Forks U.S. Air Force Base is one of the bases in the Air Mobility Command, headquartered at Scott AFB, Illinois. The base is home to the 319th Air Refueling Wing. Announcements in early 2005 about military base closings and realignments may bring changes to Grand Forks AFB, affecting jobs in the community.

Items and goods produced: farm crops, fertilizer, chemicals, seeds, wood products, metal products, concrete, computer software

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Office of Urban Development (OUD) is responsible for the administration and management of a variety of economic development programs. These activities are performed under the guidance and supervision of the Grand Forks City Council, Growth Fund Board of Directors, Grand Forks Housing Authority, and miscellaneous advisory bodies. For example, the OUD works with the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation to assist businesses and industries wishing to expand or locate in Grand Forks by helping secure funding through various local, state, and federal resources. With the grantsmanship available through the OUD, the city has been successful in securing grants and loans to update the Grand Forks Industrial Park.

State programs

North Dakota's Economic Development & Finance Division assists businesses with start-up, expansion, and recruitment. Dakota Certified Development Company (CDC) administers the Small Business Administration 504 program in North Dakota. The program creates and retains jobs via the financing of real estate and equipment. The North Dakota Development fund provides secondary sources of funding to businesses through loans and equity investments.

Job training programs

The North Dakota New Jobs Training Program offers incentives to businesses creating new job opportunities that are expanding or relocating to the state. Job Service North Dakota works with businesses to develop training programs, and administers state and federal training programs including the Workforce Investment Act, New Jobs Training program, and Workforce 2000.

Development Projects

Slowly but surely downtown Grand Forks has rebuilt itself. To prevent another flood disaster, the city, along with East Grand Forks, Minnesota and the St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has begun an estimated $386 million flood protection project. The city recently secured $40 million of the U.S. President's 2006 budget to assist with construction, which includes a 100,000 gallon per minute pump station to divert runoff that would otherwise flow into the community. Other major features include 12.3 miles of levees and 1.1 miles of floodwall. Completion of the five-year project is scheduled for 2005.

With a scheduled completion date of 2006, the Wellness Center at the University of North Dakota will provide for the wellness needs of the university community. The $19.3 million building will offer fitness oriented programs such as group exercise and personal training, fitness assessments, weight and cardio machines, and massage therapy.

Economic Development Information: Office of Urban Development, 1405 1st Ave. N., Grand Forks, ND 58203; telephone (701)746-2545. Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., 600 DeMers Avenue, Suite 501, Grand Forks, ND 58201; telephone (701)746-2720.

Commercial Shipping

Burlington Northern-Santa Fe schedules 200 freight trains peer week through the region. Seventy motor carriers and several package service carriers are located in the city.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Post-flood, Grand Forks civic leaders are looking for ways to make Grand Forks more appealing to professionals and young people.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Grand Forks metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of civilian non-agricultural labor force: 50,800

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 2,800

manufacturing: 3,500

trade, transportation and utilities: 10,900

information: 700

financial activities: 1,600

professional and business services: 3,000

educational and health services: 8,300

leisure and hospitality: 5,300

other services: 1,900

government: 12,800

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.35 (North Dakota average)

Unemployment rate: 4.1% (February 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
University of North Dakota 4,945
Grand Forks Air Force Base 4,265
Altru Health System 3,550
Grand Forks Public Schools 1,310
Hugo's Stores 775
Simplot 539
City of Grand Forks 517
Valley Memorial Homes 500
Amazon.com 400

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Grand Forks area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $243,600

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 96.0 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.67% to 12%

State sales tax rate: 5.0% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.75%

Property tax rate: 2.25% of appraised value (2005)

Economic Information: Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, 203 Third Street North, Grand Forks, ND 58203; telephone (701)772-7271

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Grand Forks: Recreation

Grand Forks: Recreation

Sightseeing

The Grand Forks County Historical Society grounds feature the Myra Museum, which displays the heritage of the Grand Forks area. Exhibits and displays include the Quiet Room, which contains furnishings from the 1700s; the Chapel, with its stained glass windows and objects from historic local churches; and the Lake Agasssiz display, which offers a history lesson in the ancient lake that produced the rich Red River Valley soil. The 1879 Campbell House displays furnishings of family life including a working loom, toys, and a summer kitchen. A 1917 school house, and the 1870s post office are some of the first buildings constructed in the town. The grounds are open for tours May 15 through September 15, with guided tours available every day of the week.

Arts and Culture

Grand Forks has a thriving cultural scene, with performing arts venues that include the Fire Hall Theatre, which offers a season of musicals, dramas, classics, and comedies in an intimate 114-seat setting, and the restored 1919 Empire Arts Center. The Chester Fritz Auditorium on the University of North Dakota (UND) campus presents a diversity of national, regional, and local theatrical productions and is home of the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. The campus's Burtness Theatre is the site of excellent college dramatic productions. Community performing arts groups include the Greater Grand Forks Symphony and Youth Symphony, Grand Forks Master Chorale, Grand Forks City Band, and North Dakota Ballet Company.

The North Dakota Museum of Art, located on the UND campus, is the state's official art gallery and serves as the center of cultural life for a five-state region. The museum exhibits national and international contemporary art with shows changing every six to eight weeks. During the winter, the Museum Concert Series presents classical music concerts. The Hughes Fine Arts Center Gallery on the UND campus exhibits the works of national and regional artists as well as students. The UND Witmer Art Center displays quality works by professional artists.

Festivals and Holidays

February's Winterthing is a two-day indoor art festival with demonstrations and music. Guest writers and poets from across the nation come to the city in March for the Writer's Conference. April's Time Out/WACIPI, sponsored by the Native American Studies Department at UND, offers a variety of activities and entertainment focused on Native American life. During three weekends in June, July, and August, Summerthing in the Park presents Music in the Park, Kids Days, and Artfest. In June, the Greater Grand Forks Fair and Exhibition offers carnival rides, concerts, 4-H entries, and races. From June through September, an outdoor farmers market with free entertainment and concessions is held on the town square. August's Catfish Days is an event for those who love to catch or eat fish or even just enjoy watching the entertainment in the evenings. A popular summer Grand Forks U.S. Air Force Base event, Friends and Neighbors Day, brings thousands of people to watch aerial demonstrations and to peer into cockpits. Crazy Days offers bargain shopping at many local marketplaces in August, and later in the month the two-day Heritage Days Festival includes old time threshing demonstrations and antique machinery. The Potato Bowl in September features football games, a queen pageant, and a golf tournament, among other activities. Christmas in the Park, held from late November through early January, is a driving tour of holiday light displays.

Sports for the Spectator

The University of North Dakota is the home of the Fighting Sioux, with nationally ranked NCAA Division I ice hockey and Division II men's and women's basketball, football, and swimming programs.

Sports for the Participant

The Grand Forks Park District maintains 43 parks and facilities on more than 850 acres of land. Facilities include biking and jogging lanes and paths, two golf courses (including an Arnold Palmer signature golf course), one public swimming pool, eleven outdoor skating rinks, four indoor ice arenas, and tennis and racquetball courts. The Park District's Center Court Fitness Club houses indoor tennis courts, aerobics studios, and a weight room. Two rivers provide outstanding fishing opportunities; the Red River is internationally known for its trophy-sized channel catfish. Winter offers opportunities for snowmobiling, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing.

Shopping and Dining

The largest indoor mall in the region is Columbia Mall, whose stores are anchored by JCPenney, Marshall Field's, and Sears. The Grand Cities Mall, anchored by Big K-Mart, includes stores such as Grand Cities Antiques and Collectibles and Zimmerman's Furniture. The Grand Forks Marketplace, located off of Interstate 29, is home to national retailers such as Target and Lowe's. The Riverwalk Centre, in East Grand Forks, offers unique shopping opportunities in a scenic setting along the Red River. Barnes and Noble University Bookstore is the anchor for a planned "University Village" on the UND campus.

East Grand Forks, Minnesota, is home to Cabela's, featuring an extensive collection of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear in a five-story-high store with a 35-foot high mountain with game mounts, a gigantic aquarium, and indoor firearm testing areas.

The Grand Forks area has more than 85 restaurants serving fast food to gourmet meals, including Chinese, Mexican, Bavarian, and Italian fare as well as the Midwest staple steak-and-potatoes dinner.

Visitor Information: Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau, 4251 Gateway Drive, Grand Forks, ND 58203; telephone (701)746-0444; toll-free (800)866-4566. Grand Forks Parks District, 1210 7th Avenue South, Grand Forks, ND 58208; telephone (701)746-2750

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Grand Forks: History

Grand Forks: History

Railroads Stimulate Growth of City

Located at the junction of the Red Lake River and the Red River of the North, the area of Grand Forks served as a camping and trading site for Native Americans for centuries. French, British, and American fur traders peddled their wares in and around "La Grand Fourches," as the French named it, meaning "the great forks."

In the 1850s, furs and trade goods passed through the Forks on oxcarts enroute between Winnipeg, Canada, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Steamboats replaced oxcarts in 1859. The shallow-draft steamboats could operate in less than three feet of water as they negotiated the Red River from Fargo to Winnipeg. Alexander Griggs, an experienced Mississippi River steamboat captain, established the town site of Grand Forks in 1870. Griggs teamed up with James J. Hill in the Red River Transportation Line of steamboats in the 1870s.

Grand Forks really began to grow after James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad came to town in 1880. The Northern Pacific Railroad also built tracks to the city in 1882 and business boomed. Early arrivals who stayed in the region were mostly of northern European background including Scandinavian, German, and Polish immigrants.

Wheat and Lumber Anchor Economy

Wheat farming served as the basis of the Red River Valley prosperity. In 1893 Frank Amidon, chief miller at the Diamond Mills in Grand Forks, invented "Cream of Wheat." George Clifford, George Bull, and Emery Mapes financed the new breakfast porridge venture, and the city became a part of a national breakfast legend.

From the 1880s to 1910, pine logs were floated down the Red River or brought in by rail to sawmills in the city. Many houses in Grand Forks were built of the majestic white pines from the vast forests of northern Minnesota. The University of North Dakota, founded in 1883, became the premier liberal arts institution in the state. The city grew from the river toward the college campus to the west. The Metropolitan Theatre opened in 1890 and for the next 25 years it presented quality productions of music and drama. During the period of the "Gilded Age" at the end of the last century, spacious and elegant houses were built along historic Reeves Drive and South Sixth Street for the local elite.

By 1900, Grand Forks had a population of almost 10,000 people. The wealth from the lumber companies, wheat farms, and railroads enabled the community to take its place as a leading city of the "Great Northwest." After his arrival in the early 1880s, local architect Jon W. Ross designed many of the area's most beautiful buildings. In 1902, Joseph Bell Deremer, trained at Columbia University, began to make his mark upon the community through the new buildings he designed.

The North Dakota Mill and Elevator, the only state-owned flour mill in the country, opened in 1923. The mill allowed North Dakota farmers to bypass Minneapolis-based railroads and milling monopolies. The mill distributed free flour to needy people during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Even today, the mill sends its trademark flour "Dakota Maid" around the world.

Twentieth Century Ends in Disaster; City Rebuilds

Grand Forks grew as a regional trade center in the twentieth century. In recent times Grand Forks residents have endured several hardships. The winter of 19951996 brought record snowfall (more than 100 inches in many areas) and eight blizzards. In April 1997, Grand Forks was devastated by a flood that saw the Red River rise to more than 53 feet; flood stage is 28 feet. With 60 percent of the city covered with water, most residents were forced to abandon the city, and the state was declared a disaster area. Damage from the flood was about $1.3 billion. Many residents pledged to return and rebuild, although Mayor Patricia Owens acknowledged that some residents would probably never return. She declared: "The lesson we've learned is that material things don't mean a thing. . . . Pretty soon we'll be back, bigger and better."

Analysts estimated that Grand Forks lost about 2,000 residents, nearly 4 percent of its population, because of destroyed homes and lost job opportunities from the great flood. But, with the initiative of then-Mayor Patricia Owens, the city began to rebuild. She secured $171.6 million in Community Development Block Grant money to help Grand Forks rebuild. She also got the federal government to earmark more than $1 billion for buyouts and relocations of homes, businesses, and schools; money for farmers who lost livestock; and money for infrastructure repair (including the town's sewer system, which was particularly hard-hit). Today, under the leadership of Mayor Brown, the city continues to grow. In 2004 the city was on a record pace for building and expansion, with a total construction value of $106 million. Less than a decade after the flood, Grand Forks has become known as a "Destination City" for its pro-business practices, affordable housing, and community events.

Historical Information: University of North Dakota, Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, Box 9000, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9000; telephone (701)777-2617

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Grand Forks: Education and Research

Grand Forks: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Grand Forks Public School District is a progressive school district, with both standard and non-traditional subjects covered in the curriculum. Students routinely use computers and other technologies in the classroom, and all students receive some foreign language instruction prior to high school. The district's special education department is recognized as one of the best in the state; it provides services to disabled persons ages 3 through 21. Gifted students are provided with enrichment opportunities, including Advanced Placement courses at the high school level. Extracurricular opportunities in sports and the arts are offered to students in all grades. The Grand Forks Foundation for Education is a private organization that provides private donations, scholarships, and endowments to the district's schools and its students.

The following is a summary of data regarding Grand Forks's public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 8,008

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 12

middle schools: 4

senior high schools: 2

alternative schools: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 18.5:1

Teacher salaries average: $39,007

Funding per pupil: $6,663

Five parochial and private schools provide an alternative to the public school curriculum. Two schools at Grand Forks Air Force Base provide education for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grades; high school students on the base are bused to Central High School.

Public Schools Information: Grand Forks Public Schools, 2400 47th Avenue South, Grand Forks, ND 58201; telephone (701)746-2200

Colleges and Universities

The University of North Dakota (UND), with more than 13,000 students, is one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the Upper Midwest. Founded in 1883, the university has a strong liberal arts course and a constellation of 10 professional and specialized colleges and schools. Academic programs are offered in 188 fields, and the curriculum spans arts and sciences, aviation, business, fine arts, engineering, human resources, education, nursing, law, medicine, and graduate studies. UND's school of medicine is recognized as a national leader in training rural health care providers.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Grand Forks City-County Library houses more than 300,000 volumes and subscribes to nearly 400 periodicals. Its Grand Forks Collection includes books, pictures, and oral history of the local area. The library hosts story hours for young children, and has meeting facilities available to the public for a small fee. The library's computer facilities offer free word processing and Internet access. Patrons can access the library's catalog via its Internet website. Within Greater Grand Forks's libraries are more than 3 million volumes as well as periodicals, reports, microfilms, and documents.

The University of North Dakota has an international reputation for research. Among its research centers and service units are the Energy and Environmental Research Center, the Bureau of Governmental Affairs, the Bureau of Educational Services and Applied Research, the Center for Rural Health, and the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium.

The Research Center at Altru Hospital participates in research and clinical trials in specialties that include cardiology, oncology, infectious diseases, pain management, and surgery. The Center collaborates with other healthcare providers and academic institutions in a 17 county region of northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

Public Library Information: Grand Forks City-County Library, 2110 Library Circle, Grand Forks, ND 58201; telephone (701)772-8116

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Grand Forks: Population Profile

Grand Forks: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 66,100

1990: 103,272

2000: 97,478

Percent change, 19902000: -5.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: 280th

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 258th

City Residents

1980: 43,765

1990: 49,417

2000: 49,321

2003 estimate: 48,618

Percent change, 19902000: -0.2%

U.S. rank in 1990: 511th (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 404th (Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN combined; State rank: 2nd)

Density: 2,563 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 46,040

Black or African American: 426

American Indian and Alaska Native: 1,357

Asian: 472

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 28

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 921

Other: 288

Percent of residents born in state: 63% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 2,910

Population 5 to 9 years old: 2,819

Population 10 to 14 years old: 2,924

Population 15 to 19 years old: 5,012

Population 20 to 24 years old: 8,174

Population 25 to 34 years old: 6,981

Population 35 to 44 years old: 6,657

Population 45 to 54 years old: 5,867

Population 55 to 59 years old: 1,747

Population 60 to 64 years old: 1,394

Population 65 to 74 years old: 2,317

Population 75 to 84 years old: 1,768

Population 85 years and older: 751

Median age: 28.3 years

Births (2001, Grand Forks County) Total number: 788

Deaths (2001, Grand Forks County) Total number: 454

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $18,395

Median household income: $34,194

Total households: 19,658

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 2,390

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,438

$15,000 to $24,999: 3,055

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,153

$35,000 to $49,999: 3,436

$50,000 to $74,999: 3,463

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,564

$100,000 to $149,999: 706

$150,000 to $199,999: 230

$200,000 or more: 223

Percent of families below poverty level: 9.3% (64.1% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,442

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Grand Forks: Communications

Grand Forks: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The city's daily newspaper is the Grand Forks Herald ; although its building burned to the ground in April 1997 during the great flood, the newspaper managed to win a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the flood. The paper maintains an Internet website with daily news, a week's worth of archived news, local classified ads, and "online extras." The Dakota Student, the student-published campus newspaper of UND, is published twice weekly during the fall and spring semesters. The paper is free to students and community members. The University of North Dakota publishes scholarly journals, including North Dakota Quarterly, a literary review.

Television and Radio

Residents of Grand Forks receive programming from one public and one commercial television station and from nine AM and FM radio stations. Grand Forks also receives programming from Fargo. Cable service is available.

Media Information: Grand Forks Herald, Knight-Ridder, Inc., 375 2nd Ave. N., PO Box 6008, Grand Forks, ND 58206-6008; telephone (701)780-1100; toll-free (800)477-6572

Grand Forks Online

City of Grand Forks Home Page. Available www.grandforksgov.com

Grand Forks Air Force Base home page. Available www.public.grandforks.amc.af.mil

Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce. Available www.gfchamber.com

Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available www.grandforkscvb.org

Grand Forks County Historical Society. Available www.grandforkshistory.com

Grand Forks Herald. Available www.grandforksherals.com

Grand Forks Park District. Available www.gfparks.org

Grand Forks Public Library. Available www.grandforksgov.com/library

Grand Forks Public Schools. Available www.gfschools.org

Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation. Available www.grandforks.org

Office of Urban Development. Available www.grandforksgov.com/gfgov/home.nsf/Pages/Urban+Development

University of North Dakota home page. Available www.und.edu

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Grand Forks

Grand Forks

Grand Forks: Introduction
Grand Forks: Geography and Climate
Grand Forks: History
Grand Forks: Population Profile
Grand Forks: Municipal Government
Grand Forks: Economy
Grand Forks: Education and Research
Grand Forks: Health Care
Grand Forks: Recreation
Grand Forks: Convention Facilities
Grand Forks: Transportation
Grand Forks: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1875

Head Official: Mayor Michael R. Brown (since 2000)

City Population

1980: 43,765

1990: 49,417

2000: 49,321

2003 estimate: 48,618

Percent change, 19902000: -0.2%

U.S. rank in 1990: 511th (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 404th (Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN combined; State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 66,100

1990: 103,272

2000: 97,478

Percent change, 19902000: -5.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: 280th

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 258th

Area: 19.2 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 834 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 40.3° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 19.3 inches of rain; 41 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Trade, government, services

Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $18,395 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,442

Major Colleges and Universities: University of North Dakota

Daily Newspaper: Grand Forks Herald

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Grand Forks: Geography and Climate

Grand Forks: Geography and Climate

Flat and open terrain surrounds Grand Forks, which is just 75 miles south of the Canadian border, and situated on the western boundary of the Red River Valley of the North. Seventy-five percent of precipitation accompanied by electrical storms and heavy rainfall in a short period of time occurs during the growing season, April through September. Summers are comfortable with low humidity, warm days and cool nights. Winters are cold and dry with temperatures remaining at zero or below approximately half the time. Snowfall is generally light. The legendary Dakota blizzards result from drifting of even minimal snowfall caused by strong winds that blow unimpeded across the flat terrain.

Area: 19.2 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 834 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 5.3° F; July, 69.2° F; annual average, 40.3° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 19.3 inches of rain; 41 inches of snow

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Grand Forks: Introduction

Grand Forks: Introduction

Since the 1870s when the juncture of the Red River of the North and the Red Lake River became a crossroads for people and their river-oriented business, the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks have been a focal point of trade and services between the plains of North Dakota and the pine forests of northern Minnesota. Located 75 miles south of the Canadian border, the city is centered in one of the world's richest agricultural regions. The business community is deeply rooted in agriculture and its related enterprises. Today more than 300,000 people in an 18-county area come to Greater Grand Forks for the commercial, recreational, and cultural services it has to offer, which include nearly 40 arts organizations. The city is headquarters for a major university and boasts a key military installation that has an important economic impact on the local economy.

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Grand Forks

Grand Forks, city (1990 pop. 49,425), seat of Grand Forks co., E N.Dak., at the confluence of the Red and the Red Lake rivers; inc. 1881. In a spring wheat, livestock, and farm area, the city has grain elevators, state-operated flour mills, and plants that process and distribute meat, dairy products, sugar beets, and potatoes. The area was settled by French fur traders who camped at the river junction and called their campsite La Grandes Fourches [Fr.,=the grand forks]. Grand Forks became an important stop on the Great Northern Railway (now part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe). In 1928 the line built huge switching and storage yards there. The city was severely damaged by flooding in 1997. The Univ. of North Dakota is there, as is a U.S. Bureau of Mines lignite research laboratory and a meteorological station. Nearby is the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

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Grand Forks: Municipal Government

Grand Forks: Municipal Government

Grand Forks has been a home rule city since 1970; it was the first city in the state to adopt home rule. Home rule means that cities may act on local matters without going to the state legislature for specific authority.

Grand Forks has a mayor-council form of government. The mayor and 14 councilpersons representing 7 wards or districts in the city are elected to four-year terms. The formal powers of the mayor of Grand Forks are limited. The mayor presides over city council meetings but can vote only if there is a tie. The mayor can veto actions of the council.

Head Official: Mayor Michael R. Brown (since 2000; current term expires June 2008)

Total Number of City Employees: 517 (2004)

City Information: City Hall, 255 North 4th St. PO Box 5200, Grand Forks, ND 58206-5200; telephone (701)746-2607; fax (701)787-3773

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Grand Forks: Transportation

Grand Forks: Transportation

Approaching the City

Grand Forks is accessible by two major highways, Interstate 29, which runs north and south, and U.S. Highway 2, which runs east and west. Grand Forks International Airport, located 4.5 miles west of the city, is North Dakota's busiest commercial airport. Northwest Airlines operates daily flights that connect travelers to more than 750 cities worldwide. Amtrak operates daily passenger trains. Interstate bus service is provided by Greyhound and Triangle bus lines.

Traveling in the City

The Cities Area Transit (CAT) provides bus service to both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks Monday through Saturday. CAT offers a door-to-door senior ride service for adults 55 and older. Dial-a-Ride service is available for the physically handicapped.

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Grand Forks: Convention Facilities

Grand Forks: Convention Facilities

Grand Forks is the largest sports, convention, and entertainment center between Minneapolis and Seattle. Its Alerus Center is the largest sports, entertainment, and convention facility in the upper Midwest. The facility includes more than 145,000 square feet of banquet, meeting, and exhibit space; adjustable concert seating for up to 22,000 people; 12 conference rooms; and a 26,000 square foot ballroom. Several local banquet halls, hotels, and restaurants also provide meeting facilities.

Convention Information: Alerus Center, 1200 42nd Street South, Grand Forks, ND 58203; telephone (701)792-1200. Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau, 4251 Gateway Drive, Grand Forks, ND 58203; telephone (701)746-0444; toll-free (800)866-4566

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Grand Forks: Health Care

Grand Forks: Health Care

Altru Health System of Grand Forks serves the more than 200,000 residents of northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Altru is an integrated health system with headquarters on a 90-acre medical campus. It was created July 1, 1997 when the Grand Forks Clinic and United Health Services integrated following the Red River Flood. Facilities include a 277-bed acute care hospital, a 34-bed rehabilitation center, a 156-physician medical group, and an assisted living community. Specialized services include a surgical center; women's services; heart services; and cancer, diabetes, rehabilitation, and vascular centers. Altru provides care from 7 locations in Grand Forks and 13 regional clinics in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.

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