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Other Views: It's time to settle issue in court

It's time to put aside the emotions, hurt feelings and back-and-forth accusations in the ongoing dispute between the Ward County Historical Society and the North Dakota State Fair Board.

Both sides are firm in their stance, and it certainly appears that the dispute would be best settled in a court of law.

The fair board wants the historical society to move its Pioneer Village off the fairgrounds. "We need the space," fair manager Renae Korslien told The Minot Daily News at a meeting. The space, if vacated, could be used for additional parking during big events, or perhaps for another free stage during the fair. There's also talk of eventually building some sort of convention center near the location, which would require additional parking. The historical society's position is simple: They have a legal right to stay on the fairgrounds based on a 1966 contract, and they have no intentions of moving. The fair board disagrees with that interpretation.

The fair, the city, the Chamber of Commerce, the Norsk Hostfest, Visit Minot and other organizations support the fair's position, and say it would be best for the fair and the historical society to move the Pioneer Village. Representatives from several groups also expressed support this week for helping the historical society find a new home, perhaps moving to land owned by the city or land belonging to the Minot Park District. There's also the possibility of financial support to help move the village's buildings.

Barring any unforeseen changes, we don't anticipate either side changing its stance, and that means the issue is likely to be settled in court. And since the issue has now become a dispute over legal claims, that's probably the best thing.

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