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Moorhead Hears Oakport's Concerns Over Annexation - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Moorhead Hears Oakport's Concerns Over Annexation

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  • Moorhead Hears Oakport's Concerns Over AnnexationMore>>

  • Moorhead to Vote on Finalizing Oakport Annexation

    Moorhead to Vote on Finalizing Oakport Annexation

    A Moorhead city resolution passed in the 1990s to annex Oakport Township north of town is set to go into effect the first of next year, and today, the Moorhead City Council votes to set the final process
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An anxious crowd packed the Moorhead City Council Chambers Monday night, trying to get a word in on the fate of their neighborhood.
Moorhead City Council members heard from Oakport residents on the looming annexation of their township.
Back in 1990, both towns agreed Oakport would be absorbed into Moorhead city limits come 2015. Since then, Oakport has grown exponentially, and so have the questions surrounding this annexation.
Dozens turned out to the Moorhead City Council to defend their way of life. 
"I love my neighborhood and I love the way it is," Kara Schmitz Olson said, standing in front of council members.
A handful of Oakport residents took the opportunity to share the simple pleasures they fear losing in the annexation.
"I don't want street lights," Dave Reierson explained. "We moved out there because of the darkness, being able to see the moon and watch the sun set."
Others didn't want to lose the systems that seem to serve Oakport better than they serve Moorhead.
"You guys don't hold a candle to the guy who plows our roads," Scott Steffes said. "I want to keep that same service that I have now."
The last week has stirred up conversation amongst the community over whether a decision made 24 years ago would suite the growing township. Now, Moorhead's annexation has them clinging to those simple pleasures.
"I've been seeing sheds go up like you're never going to see another shed," Tom Schons said. "It's all with this feeling that they're coming, they're coming!"
The annexation has guaranteed yard waste pick up, curbside recycling, cheaper electric bills and the city's public safety protection. But, much of the crowd wasn't swayed.
"Your police department will do the best they can, I still think the Sheriff's department will do a better job," Reierson said. "Your fire department, there's no way you're going to get a truck there quick enough."
On the other hand, others were not opposed to becoming part of larger community. Schons says he was raised in Moorhead, where he was a firefighter for 35 years.
"Public safety is essential to me," he said. "I don't think people are realizing what Moorhead has to offer."
Now, the city must figure out how to redraw city lines without disturbing this way of life.
"The city isn't providing me that much more in services that makes me want to say, yes, please tax me and let me give you more of my money," Kara Schmitz Olson said.
The city council was set to vote on finalizing the annexation tonight, but agreed to table the vote at least until the end of March. By then, they hope to have more discussions with the people of Oakport and reach some common ground. Moorhead has, however, already made some accommodations in hopes of reaching agreement. Oakport will receive special zoning privileges as a rural residential zone, which includes an exemption from curbs, gutters and sewers on rural roads.
No matter where discussions lead, however, the annexation will happen January 1, 2015.

 

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