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‘Smooth sailing’ construction happening in Medora

Press Photo by Bryan Horwath Progress on the frame of the new Badlands Pizza Parlor building is seen on Dec. 17 in downtown Medora. The new eatery will sit exactly where the former pizza parlor stood for many years, across the street from the Roughrider Hotel.

MEDORA — Once the weather finally warms up and visitors begin flocking to North Dakota’s most popular tourist destination again, they will notice some changes.

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In addition to a new fire hall facility west of town — which may not be seen by a lot of tourists, but which will be welcomed by locals — Medora will also feature a new pizza parlor, ticket office and a revamping of the Badlands Motel.

“The new construction projects will add to the safety and convenience of Medora visitors,” said Medora Mayor Doug Ellison. “We anticipate another strong year of providing the best visitor experience possible. Next year is also the 150th anniversary of the seminal General Sully-Lakota Sioux campaign in this area and we anticipate offering some quality educational benefits in honor of that event.”

Working through the winter, a crew was busy putting up the frame of the new Badlands Pizza Parlor late in the afternoon on Dec. 17. The new restaurant will replace the old Badlands facility, which was old and crumbling. The new ticket booth will be located immediately to the west of the new parlor.

As far as the fire hall, the city received nearly $400,000 in grant assistance for the project, which is estimated to cost a total of $800,000.

The new facility — which is expected to open by May — means firefighters will no longer have to deal with tight quarters and the congestion of numerous vehicles and pedestrians in downtown Medora, especially during the fire season.

“Everything is on schedule as far as the construction of the new fire hall,” said Medora Fire Chief Doug Koester last week. “It’s been smooth sailing so far. It’s basically enclosed now and just needs doors. We’re excited to open it.”

The new complex — which is being paid for by a combination of grant money, energy impact funds, private donations and a loan from Billings County — sits about 1 mile out of town on Pacific Avenue.

Though the upgrade still needs approval from the Medora City Council, the Planning and Zoning board on Dec. 17 approved a plan by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation to replace the siding on the two east units of the Badlands Motel complex, which is one of the first series of structures seen by motorists entering Medora from the east on Pacific.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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