Boyd Block Plaza to be completed this summer

It has been a 15 year-long process of raising funds and meeting goals, but the Boyd Block committee will see their dream of the Boyd Block Plaza completed during the summer of 2019. The committee and the project were formed shortly after the historic Boyd Block building burned down during the 2004 Labor Day weekend.

Posted 4/18/19

Melissa Anderson

With cooperation between the committee, the City of Langdon, and the Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA), a three phase plan was created to make the destroyed site a community event plaza. The city redeveloped the front 25 feet of the property while the CCJDA and the committee decided how best to use the rear section of the lot.

“Several ideas were considered including condos and an interpretive center. The idea that garnered the most community support was for a downtown plaza,” CCJDA executive director Shannon Duerr said.

When the Boyd Block committee decided on the plaza idea, the project was divided by the most necessary parts of the project:

• Phase I – The stage and the plaza, itself, were the most important things to be completed. This phase was completed just in time for Langdon’s 125th celebration.

• Phase II – Creating seating and lighting were the next on the list for completion.

• Phase III – The idea to provide a historical time line on a  wall was the last planned phase.

The committee has been able to pay off the loan that was taken out in 2013 to finance the final $75,000 to finish Phase I. Duerr explained that CCJDA took the risk on the loan, the committee fundraised to make the loan payments, and the city took ownership of the lot as they had the equipment necessary for snow removal and winterization.

“It was truly a group and community effort,” Duerr said. “We paid the loan off 4.5 years early, so we are starting the project now.”

The timeline for projects had the loan for Phase I needing to be paid off before starting on the later phases II and III. With that goal met so much sooner than expected, the committee has asked the governing bodies of the CCJDA and the City of Langdon to give the final amount needed to finish the project in its entirety in the form of a loan/grant amounting to $11,483.30.

“We always hoped to do Phase II and III together but divided them in the event of budget constraints,” Duerr explained.

The CCJDA board and the Langdon City Commission made that hope come true as both approved the request. The Boyd Block committee is expecting $5,000 in pledges this fall and will continue to fundraise to pay off as much of the remaining $6,483.30.

Phase II includes placing heavy duty, commercial, 8 foot picnic  tables on the plaza. They will be able to be moved for various events. Canopies that pop open and can also be taken down will be clamped to the tables. These will be left on the tables unless there is an event or someone rents the plaza. Duerr explained that the committee wanted them to be easy to remove and not left up all year round as North Dakota’s famous wind could be hard on the canopies.

“We hope the tables and lights will go up early this summer after the snow has melted,” Duerr said.

Phase III of the project is the placement of panels that showcase the history of Cavalier County. The committee has been researching the information using centennial  and diamond jubilee books from around the county. Duerr shared that they have also been using post office history and various North Dakota history books.

“When we have all the information compiled, we will be reaching out to local Cavalier County experts to fact check everything,” Duerr said.

“The goal for the history wall is by Music Fest. We want to give ourselves a bit more time on this to ensure everything on the panels will be correct,” Duerr added.

To say that the Boyd Block committee is excited to see this project reach the end is no exaggeration. The fact that the community provided $235,000 towards the project really demonstrates the community support behind the project.

“I think we are all excited to see the complete project come to fruition. It has been a fun project, and the amount of community support it has received has been absolutely amazing,” Duerr said.

Once the project is finalized and the last payment made, some may wonder what is next for the members of the committee. Duerr shared that the committee is not going away. On a much smaller scale, the committee plans to stay organized and still have about two to three events each year. The money raised from these events will go towards a maintenance fund that can be accessed if anything needs to be repaired or replaced.