Finding a long-term solution
The longterm future of the Ward County Historical Museum remains uncertain, but at least everyone involved has a somewhat better idea of the North Dakota State Fair Board’s vision for using its property.
The two entities still disagree on details, but State Fair manager Renee Korslein said last week that the Fair Board would like the museum and all accompanying buildings removed from the site within five years. The eventual plan is to build a new convention center on the fairgrounds, although no concrete plans have been established.
Exactly how and when the historical buildings are moved off the fair’s property remains to be decided. The Fair Board passed a resolution requiring the Ward County Historical Society to create a plan, while the society has said it thought the board planned to come up with a plan. The Fair Board would also like to have solid plans in place by Sept. 1, which would allow the board to begin work to develop the land where the historical village sits. The society says it’s willing to investigate moving the museum to a new site, but Sept. 1 is unrealistic given the difficulty in finding land in the wake of 2011’s Souris River flood.
There is much negotiation and discussion ahead before this issue is solved, and it seems the ultimate result is already known: The museum will be moved off the Fairgrounds.
But one short-term issue we’d like to see resolved is the fate of a school building that is ready to be moved into the village, a move put on hold by the Fair Board. The society says it will be responsible for moving the building onto the site, and will move the building off the site when the time comes to relocate the village’s buildings. But so far the Fair Board hasn’t given the society the necessary permission. We hope the board allows the society to move the school onto the site soon. It would be a nice, and ultimately temporary, addition to the village.