Bruce Brooks, Minot
This is the statement that the Historical Society developed in response to the Monday article on the Pioneer Village.
As we have stated in the past, we have a legal right to be where we are and remain there according to the 1966 agreement.
That said, the article in the Dec. 19 Minot Daily News deserves some comment.
The article implies that the Historical Society board contacted the paper about the letter from the Fair Board. We did not. We were called to verify that we had received the letter.
The article states that the Fair Board has no record of having given the Historical Society permission to move additional buildings to the Pioneer Village. In fact it had given permission, according to records obtained under a Freedom of Information request.
The Minot community leaders' attempt to broker an agreement was basically a take it or leave it proposition. One of the two spots is smaller than the current location. The other location was off convenient traffic patterns and would have required a significant amount of ground work to solve a very apparent drainage problem. Their offer of assistance was not defined.
One basic misunderstanding that the Historical Society attempted to correct is that we have been looking for ways to expand. At no time has that been one of our goals. We have been perfectly content to improve our current exhibits, not expand our footprint. The one example of this is the "little red schoolhouse" that would have replaced a building that was badly damaged by the flood and was removed. The Fair Board blocked our movement of the schoolhouse to that spot.
We freely admit that the Pioneer Village and its exhibits are a secondary attraction and draw most of our visitors during events at the fairgrounds. Were the village to be forced to become freestanding it would require it to become a commercial enterprise similar to Buckshot Junction or Bonanzaville. We have no intentions in that direction.
The Historical Society's goals are the same as the original founders: Receive, maintain, interpret and display artifacts connected with the culture and history of Ward County and surrounding area. In our opinion this needs to be done where people congregate.