Dan Caswell, Minot
On Feb. 3, from 3 to 6:15 p.m. we sat and listened in the Ward County Courthouse about basically the same arguments and information over and over. Who was there first, how many buildings (Pioneer Village, Ward County Historical Society) were on the site at what date, when the buildings were put there, who gave them permission, etc. etc. I think if I were the judge I would have said "find some new information or arguments"!
It was testified by both parties that they have had a good relationship over the years and that they have both enhanced each other. They have promoted and assisted each other. Isn't this the way two entities, owned by the people, should conduct themselves?
N.D. State Fair stated that the reason they want WCHS/Pioneer Village off the premises is because four or five years ago the property was getting shabby and unkempt. But, the Society has spent a ton of money renovating all the buildings since the flood and they are in excellent condition. The grounds are being kept up. So, it appears they want to end the relationship because of possible "future" problems. And this on top of the fact that Pioneer Village/WCHS has been on the property since approximately 1951, and never had an alleged problem with condition of property until about five years ago.
I would like to know the real reason NDSF wants WCHS off the property. I have heard rumors and I hope it's only rumors that NDSF intends to remove, besides WCHS, some of the animal barns. I hope this is not true as what would a fair be without 4-H and the animals? I realize they (probably?) do not pay NDSF tons of dollars for the facilities like ag shows, car sales, Hostfest, etc. do; but the attendance would probably drop by at least 50 percent if they were to eliminate the 4-H and animals.
I feel that, being a taxpayer, who "really" owns the property, should be informed of what is truly going on, as well as have some say in the goings-on of these entities.
I do not find anyone in the state that is in favor of WCHS moving from NDSF except a few persons on the state fair board one of which apparently is a Velva resident who drafted the motion to remove WHCS from the fairgrounds per NDSF testimony at the courthouse.
Truth is if it really is the North Dakota State Fair and the Ward County Historical Society and they both get taxpayer funds to operate. This should make the taxpayer the real owners and it should be up to us to determine the outcome.