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Gladstone campers find themselves without water

Despite paying their water and electric bills, campers at Prairie Rose Park in Gladstone remain without water nearly two weeks after the city turned off the service.

Gladstone Park Board member Gwen Lantz said that six campers who still occupy sites in the park's 17 lots have hauled their water into the campground since the water was shut off Nov. 9.

"One of the reasons for having the water shut off is because (the water) would freeze, but it won't because we had water out there all last year," Lantz said. "And no one has said when the water will be turned back on."

She said a notice was placed on each camper's door before the water was shut off.

"But I don't think anyone has really left the campground at this point because the water has been shut off," Lantz said. "Mostly, I think that could be because trying to find a new place to live can be challenging."

But, according to residents, the water troubles are playing a role in their decision to leave.

"We're already looking for somewhere else to go," said resident Rene Trevino.

Campers pay a monthly rate of $350, which includes water and electricity, said Park Board member Erin McGahuey.

"I'm sure that there will be a refund of some sort," she said. "We made a payment for water to the city this month on Nov. 7. They shut off the water, and then they cashed our check. These people paid their bills and they expect to have water until the next bill is due in December."

McGahuey said there will need to be a meeting with the campers to discuss the monthly rate if they are not going to have the water they paid for.

Gladstone City Councilman Darcy Fossum said the water is not likely to be turned back on until at least spring, since the park is not meant for long-term living.

"The city considers the park closed for the winter season," he said.

Along with water issues, the Park Board continues to pursue its lawsuit against the city claiming a measure on the June ballot to dissolve the board should not have been on the ballot. The board also contested how the names were put on the ballot and demanded the election be deemed invalid.

McGahuey said a court date is set for January.

Bismarck attorney William Delmore, who represents the park board, and Gladstone City Attorney Mary Nordsven did not return calls Tuesday.