Seeking Removal of Fortuna Site - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Seeking Removal of Fortuna Site

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It was a tool of the US Government during the cold war to keep this country safe...

Now it has become an eyesore -- one that local officials want to clean up.

The radar site four miles west of Fortuna in far northwest North Dakota has been abandoned now for decades, and soon, it may almost totally disappear.

Perry Olson takes us there to show us the issue.

 It stood strong starting in 50s...a defense for this country during cold war times...but now the Fortuna Radar Site has been reduced to near rubble.

Doug Graupe - Divide County Commissioner) "It is a real eyesore. The individual who owned it took anything of value, blew holes in the buildings with dynamite to get large items is a real environmental hazard and an eyesore."

After the government closed it in 1984, a private citizen purchased it...taking all that was worth anything...and then leaving it to waste away... Now officials in Divide County want to get it cleaned up, but as you might imagine, there are some hurdles that first need to be cleared.

(Doug Graupe - Divide County Commissioner) "Found out that there is quite a bit of asbestos, so the state will not allow us to bury it until that is cleaned up."

That could bring a big price tag...about a million dollars. Graupe has been to DC and asked Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven for help in funding...but it hasn't come along yet, but should he says -- after all, this was federal property...

(Doug Graupe - Divide County Commissioner) "It is crucial that we do get the funding, and my feeling is that because the federal government is the cause of it, this shouldn't be left up to the county and county expenses to do the removal."

They would remove most of the facility -- but not all...wanting to keep some memory of what once was...

(Doug Graupe - Divide County Commissioner) "The only thing we want to leave is the large tower. We will put a plaque on that as a memorial to the cold war when that facility was in use."

Now it is just wait and see...hoping the funding comes to get the site cleaned up. Perry Olson, KX News. 

An official with Senator John Hoeven's office told us today that they continue to work with Divide County officials trying to secure funding for the project.

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