JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- The Frontier Village Association approved turning all assets and debt of the organization over to the city of Jamestown, N.D., on a 3-2 split vote during a Friday, Nov. 1, meeting that was often contentious -- police were called to maintain order after the meeting adjourned.
The decision means that the village assets will stay in Jamestown, rather than be transferred to the Perham Pioneer Village, a nonprofit operated by the History, Arts and Cultural Association of East Otter Tail County. Previously, Frontier Village and Perham Pioneer officials said that arrangements had been made to move the North Dakota village to Minnesota.
Frontier Village Association and the city of Jamestown have been in a dispute regarding the renewal of the land lease for the Frontier Village location that expires at the end of the year. The city of Jamestown had declined to renew the lease but is in the process of preparing a request for proposals for an organization to lease the location and operate the tourist site.
Frontier Village Association declined to submit a proposal and threatened to transfer the assets of Frontier Village to Perham Pioneer Village at Perham.
"We did not intend to take Jamestown and give it away," said Frontier Village Association board member Tina Busche. "Perham did not get anything. Nothing was taken off premises."
The situation came to a head on Wednesday, Oct. 30, when members of the Jamestown Fire Department removed an antique fire truck and other display items from Frontier Village that belonged to the city of Jamestown.
Frontier Village Association responded by filing a complaint in Southeast District Court seeking a temporary restraining order preventing the city from interfering with the transfer of items to Perham that was scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 4. The status of the complaint against the city is unclear.
Meanwhile, at the Wednesday night, Oct. 30, Committee of the Whole meeting in Perham, City Manager Jonathan Smith said that the Frontier Village would not be coming to Perham.
Smith said the Frontier Village board was under the impression they owned everything on the site, but the city of Jamestown has disputed this claim.
“They have every intention to keep everything in Jamestown,” Smith said. “I can confidently say we’re not getting anything.”
“We are not going to be Frontier Village, and we’re not getting the buffalo,” Smith said in reference to the world’s largest buffalo monument, which is at the Frontier Village.
Shirley Davidson, executive director of the History, Arts and Cultural Association, which oversees the Perham Pioneer Village, said Thursday, Oct. 31, that she didn't know what was going on. Davidson said the last time she heard from anyone representing the Frontier Village in Jamestown was three days earlier.
"I don't want to be in the fight," Davidson said. "I went in trying to get cool things to do, but I didn't go in trying to fight."
Early last week, Davidson and Smith both told the Focus that verbal agreements were in place to receive the North Dakota tourist spot's assets.