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Published September 11, 2013, 01:00 PM

Plan to tear down Medora's oldest buildings halted

MEDORA, N.D. – A plan to remove two of Medora’s oldest buildings was grounded before it had a chance to be heard Tuesday.

By: Bryan Horwath, Forum News Service

MEDORA, N.D. – A plan to remove two of Medora’s oldest buildings was grounded before it had a chance to be heard Tuesday.

At a special Medora Planning and Zoning Board meeting at the Badlands Pizza Parlor, a proposal that would have removed the pizza parlor and Dakota Cyclery buildings and replaced them with a more modern-looking structure, failed to garner a motion to proceed.

One of the main sticking points with the proposal – which was overwhelmingly opposed by speakers among the nearly 30 citizens at the public hearing – was the fate of the Dakota Cyclery bike shop, which specializes in setting up cyclists for trips along the popular Maah Daah Hey Trail.

“In our building, people come in with video cameras just to look at the structure and the building,” said Dakota Cyclery co-owner Loren Morlock. “People think it’s one of the coolest places for a bike shop that there is – we get that once per week. It works so well. I think there needs to be more research done before we just knock this stuff over.”

Representing the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, Kinley Slauter said the plan was for the pizza parlor and a new “ticket and information area” to be housed in the new structure, which would have had a total building footprint of 5,400 square feet. Despite the setback, Slauter said after the meeting that the foundation planned to “review the project” and that he didn’t consider it dead.

Besides opposition from Loren and Jennifer Morlock, other speakers at the meeting raised concerns about the preservation of the town’s historic structures, including the pizza parlor building, which Slauter said can be traced to the 1880s.

“I’m very concerned,” said Medora resident Valerie Naylor. “We have maybe 10 historic structures left. The whole idea of historic preservation is not to tear down the old and build new. It’s always cheaper and usually easier, but if we’re going to be ‘Historic Medora,’ we should put our money toward actual historic preservation. I’m the first to say these buildings need work, but I think they have value.”

Slauter pointed out that the pizza parlor building was falling apart in certain areas and failed to provide the best dining experience for Medora visitors.

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