Members of Faith Lutheran Church would like the North Dakota State Fair office to move bleachers that have been installed along the roadway next to the Ward County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village.
Rod Wilson, chairman of the Faith Lutheran Church board of directors, said the bleachers made it difficult for church members to park before services last Sunday.
“From our standpoint, we’re just trying to be good neighbors, to be there,” said Wilson. “It doesn’t seem like they (the State Fair) are using a lot of common sense.”
Faith Lutheran rents the Immanuel Lutheran Church building at the Pioneer Village Museum. The church has been holding services there since May 1.
Wilson said there are about 35 to 40 members of the church. Normally, church members park on either side of the roadway that runs by the Pioneer Village Museum on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds. Until last Sunday, the parking had worked well, said Wilson.
Wilson said the church board has not made a request to the State Fair Office because “we have to work through the historical society.” Bernice Galusha,
treasurer of the historical society, said the board has not made contact with the State Fair Office.
State Fair Manager Renae Korslien said Tuesday afternoon the bleachers are being stored along the streets as part of the State Fair’s preparation for the North Dakota State Fair next month. She said there is nowhere else on the Fairgrounds where the bleachers could be stored.
“No, they won’t be moved by next Sunday,” said Korslien, who said bleachers are also in place near where the Nodak Speedway races are going on.
Korslien said the museum has a “lot of parking” for the church to use.
Wilson said the museum parking lot was “tight on space” on Sunday, when there were a dozen cars.
The State Fair Board and the Ward County Historical Society have been embroiled in a dispute over the future of the Pioneer Village.
In March, Judge William McLees stayed an eviction action taken by the North Dakota State Fair Association against the historical society, pending further court proceedings that will help clarify the rights of each of the parties in the contract dispute.
The State Fair Board had attempted to have the Pioneer Village evicted from the fairgrounds, saying that the Fair needs the land for other purposes. The historical society claims the right to remain in that location under the terms of a 1966 contract between the Northwest Agriculture Livestock and Fair Association and the North Dakota State Fair Association, which said “that the North Dakota State Fair Association will allow the Northwest North Dakota Historical Society to maintain and operate its building located on the fairgrounds.”
No further action has been taken by either of the parties in the case since the March decision. The Pioneer Village remains on the fairgrounds and is open to the public this summer.