The Frontier Village in Jamestown is the product of decades of volunteer efforts and donations that have resulted in a place visited by local residents and thousands of travelers every summer. Now, the Frontier Village Association is seeking to destroy that effort in a disagreement with the Jamestown City Council. That's not right and dishonors those who donated to the village in the spirit of preserving local history for the future.
The lease from the city of Jamestown for the land that Frontier Village is located on expires at the end of this year. The Frontier Village Association has issued an ultimatum that the lease either be renewed or the assets of the village will be moved out of state.
The Frontier Village is a tribute to the heritage of Jamestown and the surrounding area, not a bargaining chip in an effort to retain control over something that really doesn't belong to the members of the Frontier Village Association. The people who volunteered time and artifacts donated for the benefit of the community, not a self-appointed board.
The rural school belongs to the spirit of every child who attended the one-room country schools that dotted the landscape years ago. The country church pays tribute to the religious faith that supported the early settlers to the region.
The various other buildings and displays pay tribute to the lives of people who lived in this region before it evolved into the Jamestown and Stutsman County we know today.
All of those buildings and items are important enough to stay in Jamestown, for the Jamestown community and the people who visit.
Frontier Village Association has exhibited a lack of cooperation with the elected Jamestown City Council, the hired professionals of Jamestown Tourism and the successful, privately established National Buffalo Museum. Their attitude has resulted in a Frontier Village that looks shabby and does not tell the story of Jamestown.
Documentation of meetings and bylaws that the Frontier Village Association is required by the lease to file with the city of Jamestown has been lacking. Frontier Village Association violated North Dakota's open meeting laws on at least one occasion, when it recently failed to provide notice and then changed its bylaws.
Simply put, the Frontier Village Association is not a good steward of the area's heritage or promoter of the existing community.
The Jamestown City Council is in the process of issuing a request for proposal seeking a new operator for the Frontier Village. Frontier Village Association is not planning on participating in that process, calling it an "exercise in futility."
Finding a new organization to operate Frontier Village in a way that reflects well on Jamestown would be positive for the community. Moving the assets of the site to Minnesota in a temper-tantrum fueled ultimatum is not.