The battle over land on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds that currently houses the Ward County Historical Society has moved to a new level -- the courts.
Monday was the deadline set by the State Fair Board for the Historical Society to move off the grounds...but they didn't, and officials say they won't --- but fight the matter in court.
Perry Olson has more on what the Historical Society feels should happen next.
(Perry Olson - KX News) "Monday was deadline day for the Ward County Historical Society. Time to move off the NDSF grounds...but as you can see...nothing is happening."
(Bruce Brooks - Ward Co. Historical Society) "No, we haven't started anything about moving. In fact we are planning for our next season."
But next season is up the air right now. If the Fair Board holds true to its word, a notice of intent to evict will now be served on the society...and perhaps a complain for eviction. Brooks says they know it is coming...so they are getting ready.
(Bruce Brooks - Ward Co. Historical Society) "The paperwork is just about done I think. It will depend basically on the specifics of the actions that they take."
The case falls back to an agreement made decades ago -- in 1966 -- that said the Society could locate on the fairgrounds...but it stipulated a 'building' -- the society has more than one building...but they contend the true meaning of the agreement was for the Society to be on the grounds...not simply one building. That is the fight they are preparing for...
(Bruce Brooks - Ward Co. Historical Society) "There are no guarantees in the legal world, but all of the people I have talked to think we have a very good case and a very good chance of winning."
Brooks says the current location is a benefit to the society. They are not a main attraction, and piggyback on the State Fair's run to generate visitors...a move off the grounds would greatly impact those numbers. In fact, he says if they are forced to leave...it may become a shell of what it is now.
(Bruce Brooks - Ward Co. Historical Society) "We think that the effort that goes into maintaining the history and the culture of the place is certainly worth keeping where a lot of people can benefit from it."
(Perry Olson - KX News) "Brooks says the WCHS is confident that they will win this court battle and that they will be able to stay on the grounds of the North Dakota State Fair. In Minot, Perry Olson, KX News. "
The notice given the Historical Society by the Fair Board's law team does indicate that one building would be allowed to remain on the grounds.