During a 45-minute press conference, done while sitting on an exercise ball, Gov. Doug Burgum says the “leg work” he’s put in for a Theodore Roosevelt Library is starting to pay off.
Burgum says Rob and Melani Walton donated $5 million to the North Dakota Community Foundation, which could be used for initial startup costs for the library.
The governor wants to use $50 million from the Legacy Fund earnings, along with $100 million from private and federal sources to build the museum in Medora. The City of Medora, Dickinson State University, the Petroleum council and Congressman Kelly Armstrong all sent letters of support for the project. But Burgum says support isn't indefinite.
“I believe that the window for the donor dollars is narrow. I believe that the support from the Roosevelt family, which we have today, is not permanent because we have other states chasing them,” said Burgum.
Two other states have reached out to Theodore Roosevelt V, the great-great grandson of the former president, regarding a library, according to Burgum.
He added they're more than half way to their $100 million goal with the condition from donors the state chips in their $50 million.
Regarding the workforce issue, Burgum shrugged off the notion that Medora is a seasonal town, saying Glacier Park and Yellowstone are both seasonal. He says the facility will be open year-round, but he expects the majority of visitors to be in the summer months.
The North Dakota Petroleum Council supports the project and President Ron Ness, according to Burgum, said the project would attract visitors and retain families moving to western North Dakota.