Cavalier County Republican

Copyright © Langdon, North Dakota       Monday, October 15, 2012
(Reproduced with permission)

Cavalier County Job Development

Carol Goodman, Executive Director CCJDA By Carol Goodman
Executive Director, Cavalier County Job Development Authority

No one ever said the project to redevelop the former Stanley R. Mickelsen SAFEGUARD Complex would be an easy road to follow, and the activities of the past few weeks have proved to be no exception! As we moved into a "negotiated sale" phase with General Services Administration (GSA) last spring, we had hoped it could be just that -- negotiated. However, it soon became apparent that acquiring SRMSC would only take place by a price set by the government, with a hard deadline to meet, and that there was certainly a reluctance to accept their responsibility to clean up the environmental issues.

Consequently, in order to force action on the environmental cleanup, the North Dakota Department of Health issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) on August 24 that specified a response from the government by September 28. The NOV was issued mainly due to "storing hazardous waste without a permit." Over 400,000+ gallons of water has accumulated in the Spartan missile silos and is considered hazardous waste because of traces of lead and chromium in the water. Paint used before 1978 contained those elements, so the recommended remediation is to remove the water, treat it according to EPA standards and dispose of it, followed by sandblasting the paint off the inside of the silos and disposing of the residue. A final recommended step is to fill the silos so it doesn't happen again. North Dakota has been pushing the government to take care of the problem since 1995.

The Army did respond to the NOV on October 3 after requesting a one-week extension. The letter states they still don't accept that the environmental issue is their problem; however, they will send personnel up here in the next few weeks to "assess, formulate a plan and carry it out as funds become available." ND Dept. of Health will be responding to that in the next few days.

Meanwhile, GSA pushed forward with sale of the property. Since we certainly wouldn't accept / purchase SRMSC without assurance that the environmental issue would be taken care of, we passed on GSA's deadline to purchase by August 27. They then sent the property into their on-line "public auction," which wasn't activated until October 9. In order to bid, we will have to register and provide them with a deposit -- $20,000 for the 435 acre main parcel. We can see other bids as they come in, but we are not allowed to know who is the bidder. The auction will go on as long as they want it to.

The positive side of this effort is that the potential continues to grow for redeveloping SRMSC for the public good, creating jobs, and achieving economic impact for the area. Keep in mind that SRMSC has sat vacant for over 30 years, and we entered into the GSA process with a solid plan that should have been attractive to the government. We will continue to move forward a step at a time.

On to more fun things -- the Boyd Bock Plaza committee has really been working hard to finish up the design and start fund-raising in order to have the plaza ready for Langdon's 125th next summer. The City of Langdon will assume ownership and management of the BB Plaza once the construction has been finished. This is one of those "legacy" projects that will be visible in the community for many years to come. Thanks to the Langdon City Commission for their cooperation in working with the committee.

Give us a call or stop by the office if you have any questions!