Dissolve the Gladstone Park Board? Measure prompts infrastructure, camper questionsA measure that could dissolve the Gladstone Park Board has stirred up questions of infrastructure, camper regulation and open meeting controversies, officials said.
A measure that could dissolve the Gladstone Park Board has stirred up questions of infrastructure, camper regulation and open meeting controversies, officials said.
“They are living under the belief that because they are on the park board, they don’t have to adhere to the rules to the city,” Mayor Kurt Martin said.
Gladstone Measure No. 1 asks, “Shall the city of Gladstone dissolve the Gladstone Park Board?” Gladstone resident Karen Terrill collected 43 signatures to place it on the ballot.
Terrill did not immediately return calls to The Dickinson Press on Saturday.
A Gladstone public notice printed in The Press on May 22 stated if the Gladstone Park District was dissolved all assets from it would be transferred to the city. The board’s title to real property will be transferred to the city, which will regulate the use of that property.
It also stated that “in the event the City Council decides to terminate the use of the park property for long-term camping or lodging purposes, a 30-day eviction notice will be given.”
There are 17 lots in Prairie Rose Park with 16 belonging to the park district. The city owns the other. There are campers in the lots; most of them work in the Oil Patch.
Martin said he knew about the petition before it was placed on the ballot.
The board has retained a lawyer, according to the May 28 special meeting minutes. The minutes also stated the park has been managed by four to five people for more than 70 years and has had a campground for more than six years.
Board member Gwen Lantz said the vote will affect a lot of lives and she is not sure what will happen.
“It’s not going to hurt the people on the park board, if that is what the intention is,” she said. “It’s going to hurt those people living up there because they are trying to make a living.”
One reason the petition came to the surface is because the board has irregular meetings, the mayor said. He is also concerned that none of the members on it were voted in.
“At one point, there was only two people on the park board, which left them with no quorum, but they again just went out and started appointing other people to be on the park board,” he said.
Three of four board positions are up for election. Board member Lillian Bondell’s name is the only one on the ballot, which could leave the board without a quorum again, Martin said.
The board has meetings at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month, Lantz said, adding it is not true that it has irregular meetings.
If a meeting date is changed, she said the members inform the public.
By state law, the board is required to post a notice of special meetings at its principal office, said Jack McDonald, North Dakota Newspaper Association attorney. The notice must have the time, date, location of meeting and agenda items to be discussed. It must also inform its official newspaper of the meeting.
Three members met with campers who lived in Prairie Rose on May 20 to discuss concerns about the petition, which could possibly force them out of their spaces if the measure passes.
No minutes were recorded May 20, Lantz said, adding it was not a board meeting because the campers called it.
McDonald disagreed. Minutes must be recorded at all meetings where a quorum is present to discuss park board business.
“It doesn’t make a difference if the campers asked for it or not,” he said. “It’s a meeting.”
Martin added there is a city ordinance that states the spots are for tourists only, but some of the people have been there for a year. While he said he has nothing against oil field workers, the city’s infrastructure is being pushed hard.
“Should we come to a position where we have to put specials on the retired citizens to pay for temporary housing?” he asked. “Should the kids come first and their safety before the oil workers?”