Battle Over Historical Society Moves On - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Battle Over Historical Society Moves On

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The saga over the location of the Ward County Historical Society took a turn today -- and it appears that turn may be toward the courtroom.

The North Dakota State Fair Board said today they had designated time during Tuesday's meeting to discuss the matter with the Society, but officials did not appear.

In a recent email sent to the board, the Historical Society indicated that they would not be moving, saying 75% of their visits occur during the state fair so leaving the grounds would hurt their mission.

Minot Chamber president John MacMartin has been part of a group working to find a solution for the issue.

However that effort seems to not have generated an answer, and a deadline of September set by the fair board for a decision has arrived.

(John MacMartin - Minot Chamber of Commerce President) "At this juncture unless the Ward County Historical Society has a change of heart, I think the ball falls squarely in your lap for your action."

The action taken was to reject an offer from the Historical Society to indeed move...but move to a location still on the fairgrounds and very close to where they are now.

That vote to deny that option was unanimous.

MacMartin said an effort by third parties including the city to find them acceptable land to move to has been presented...and turned down.

(John MacMartin - Minot Chamber of Commerce President) "We had at least two spots of land and that if we could somehow find a way to avoid court that we would even go out and raise the money to make the move happen. If this goes on to court, the offer to raise money to make this happen is off the table."

The board went into executive session to meet with its lawyer this morning to make a decision on how to proceed, apparently, with removing the Historical Society from the fairgrounds.

The Historical Society claims they have legal standing to remain in its location based on a 1966 agreement.

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