6/13/2007 – News
Volume 124, Number 19
Waves raise cain with dock
The dock at the boat ramp south of Minnewaukan near the city’s inert landfill was overturned by wind-driven waves the night of June 6. A payloader from Ebach Construction of Minnewaukan was used to replace the dock. Amazingly, it suffered no damage.
Old Leeds City Hall may be renovated
The historic Old City Hall in Leeds will apparently be saved from the wrecking ball.
On June 4 the Leeds City Council rescinded a decision to demolish the building.
Instead, the city will accept sealed bids for the sale and subsequent restoration of the century-old building that recently earned an honorable mention as one of the "2007 Three Most Endangered Historic Properties" by Preservation North Dakota.
Two interested parties — David French of Everett, Wash. and Ken Tweten of Columbus, Mont. — discussed preliminary plans to restore the building at the June 4 meeting.
The city will open bids July 9 at 6 p.m. A Notice of Sale published in this week’s Farmers Press requires that the building be restored and repaired to maintain its original architectural integrity by June 1, 2011. The city of Leeds will celebrate its 125th anniversary that year.
The successful bidder must make payment to the city by August 6, 2007. If the sale is consummated, the city will save the $17,000 that was the low bid on demolition of the building. The other demolition bid was for $32,000.
The Roman-Greco-style building is believed to have been built in 1901 and first housed the First National Bank, which closed in 1926. It served as Leeds City Hall and Public Library from 1934 until 1997.
The building has been vacant since and has fallen into disrepair. It has been used as a "haunted house" for local Halloween events.
The city had been planning to demolish the building for several years. It established a demolition fund three years ago. In January, the city asked if any residents were interested in salvaging some of the building’s features — tin ceilings, ceramic and wood flooring, for example. A small group of local residents who did not want to see the building demolished contacted Preservation North Dakota.
By the time the city council opened bids in early May for the demolition, two preliminary proposals surfaced from people interested in restoring the building. So, the council postponed any further action until the June 4 meeting.
David and Julie French initially offered $5,000 to buy the property as is. Julie French’s grandparents — Emma and Arie Schaap — grew up in Leeds and raised 10 children there, among them Julie’s mother, Donna.
Tweten grew up in the Esmond vicinity and recently purchased other property in the area, according to City Auditor Tammy Urness.
The majority of the preceding story was written by Grand Forks Herald reporter Kevin Bonham and first appeared in the Herald on Wednesday, June 6, 2007.
Stink Lake fish
Sidney Bingaman, who lives on the farm about a mile south of the Crossroads near Churchs Ferry, got a surprise when he saw fishermen fishing at Stink Lake, just north of his buildings. He stopped to tell them that this was an alkaline lake and that there were no fish there. To his surprise the fishermen showed him these fish they had caught by fishing off the rocks at Stink Lake on Old US 281. Bingaman said he was so surprised he didn’t get the names of the fishermen, but he did know they were from Knox.