Settle this dispute already

The North?Dakota State Fair board delivered a familiar-sounding pre-Christmas gift to the Ward County Historical Village last week: An order to remove most of the buildings in the Pioneer Village from the fairgrounds before Jan. 13, 2014, or it will receive an eviction notice.

Not surprisingly, the members of the Historical Society responded with a familiar message of their own: They have no intention of removing any buildings from Pioneer Village because they believe a 1966 contract gives them the legal right to keep the buildings on their current site.

In turn, the State Fair Board’s attorney said the board does not recognize that the historical society has the right to leave the buildings on the grounds.

Obviously, it would impossible for the historical society to move all the buildings that have been placed on the grounds after 1966 between now and Jan. 13, even if the society’s officials had any such inkling. The society does not have the money or the means to accomplish such a task. That means the next step will be an eviction notice, and that means, as we’ve written countless times before, this issue should be settled in court. Amid all the accusations and disagreements between the two parties, the issue can be boiled down to this: It’s a legal dispute, arising from a difference of interpretation by opposing attorneys of a contract dating back to 1966.

We hope this issue is finally settled in 2014. It’s been festering for too long already, and it’s obviously gone far beyond hurt feelings. Both parties need the issue resolved, so both can move on in their respective directions.