WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 10, 2010, 10:49 AM

Homeowner not afraid to have Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in his backyard

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is finally going ahead with a plan to build a campus in south Fargo, this time right next door to the new Davies High School. The ranch was trying to build just south of the current site, but was shut down about a year ago because of zoning issues.

The last attempt to build in south Fargo was also met with a loud protest from nearby neighbors worried about their children’s safety. Many were up in arms, circling petitions and making their case to city leaders, but one man who lives close to the new site says there's no need to be afraid.

Tom Summerville has seen lot of changes in the 34 years he's called this home.

“When I moved out here, we were nine and a half miles from the Fargo city limits, now I’m 100 feet.”

Tom says he's a live and let live sort of guy, and that's how he's taking news of the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch building a 40 acre campus in his backyard.

“I'm not saying that I’m really excited about them being out here, I’m not. But whether I’m up in arms and thinking I’m going to do anything about it, I don't think so.”

The president of the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch says being next door to the new Davies High School is what locked in the decision to buy the land. The ranch works closely with Fargo Public Schools.

“Much better location for us than the previous one was, so there's always a blessing sometimes in the setbacks. We're excited, we're moving ahead.”

The land will be home to a residence hall, a school, gym, and chapel. Kaseman hopes it'll be done in the next year. As for neighbors like Tom, he says there is no need to fear the change, because it's inevitable and not the end of the world.

“If I could fight off 22 inches of water here, I could probably fight off a 16 year old kid if he's on the loose.”

On top of safety issues, another argument against the campus has been that it would lower property values. The Dakota Boys Ranch is hoping to start construction as early as September.