Court Ruling Favors The North Dakota State Fair

After a six-year dispute, a judge has ruled the North Dakota State Fair can legally force the removal of Pioneer Village.

That means the Ward County Historical Society will have to find a new home for most of the historic buildings now on the fairgrounds.

“We’re anxious to talk to the Ward County Historical Society so we can move forward,” said Renae Korslien, State Fair General Manager

“We’re not sure of our direction,” said David Leite, Ward County Historical Society President.

The recent ruling gives rights to the State Fair Association to remove most of the Pioneer Village from the grounds. The president of the Ward County Historical Society says that they are disappointed in the ruling and are trying to figure out the next step.

“We always have the option of appealing the court case,” said Leite.

According to the judge’s decision, there are two buildings that can stay on the grounds. The first one is this gold building behind me known as the Butler building, the second is the white county courthouse and the reason they get to stay is because they were the original buildings.

“There was actually a legal lease that was signed with 2 buildings on it,” said Leite.

Years ago, before any lawyers were involved, he State Fair offered to work with the Historical Society to get them off the grounds. There were 2 locations available in the city; One by the airport and another by Roosevelt Park.

“The places that were offered to the society at those times were found to be really poor,” said Leite.

The state fair manager says that community leaders offered the land before but she’s not sure what’s available now.

“So now we have to see if that’s still a viable option for them,” said Korslien.

Leite says even if there is another place to put the 12 buildings money is still an issue.

“To move anywhere else is going to take a couple million dollars,” said Leite.

Leite says it the money isn’t found to move the buildings, it could mean the end of Pioneer Village.

“It’s very emotional,” said Leite.

Leite says the county historical society has 60 days to file an appeal of the judge’s decision, but he’s unsure if the group will pursue further legal options.

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