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Abandoned Nekoma, N.D., missile facility could soon have new life

NEKOMA, ND -- Only a handful of people have been allowed into the Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex since it was decommissioned in the 1970's. For some people, walking through the halls is similar to taking steps back in time. Shannon Duerr,...

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In this 2006 file photo Nekoma, N.D., farmer Marvin Gronhovd plants wheat in a field adjacent to the ABM installation at Nekoma. Herald file photo by Eric Hylden
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NEKOMA, ND -- Only a handful of people have been allowed into the Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex since it was decommissioned in the 1970’s.

For some people, walking through the halls is similar to taking steps back in time.

Shannon Duerr, Executive Director of the Cavalier County Job Development Authority, says, “It's sad to see the condition it was left in."

The missile facility looked a lot different decades ago.

“You can see structurally it looks a little bit rough," Duerr said. "But that’s because all the walls are lined with steel and with water and forty years of sitting empty."

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Rooms were filled with data processors designed to identify and respond to any incoming missiles with an arsenal of firepower.

“Well there were a lot of missiles at this site," Duerr said. "There were thirty Spartans which were the big long missiles that were fifty-five feet long.”

They Cavalier County Job Development Authority recently paid over $400,000 for part of this facility, but they don't plan to keep it all.

“Well it’s a little bit too big to keep the whole thing," Duerr said. "As a tourist attraction so what our vision is is to have an interpretive center. In one of the smaller buildings."

The Job Development Authority is hoping a big name company like Google will move servers into the pyramid.

They say the concrete, underground space, and rural areas are ideal for data processing and security.

The JDA has not received any offers yet, but they're hoping companies will bring jobs to the small town.

They say even a dozen jobs would greatly improve the economy.

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Carol Goodman, Cavalier County Job Development Authority, says, "If the whole site was developed with the things that are on the drawing board right now we could look at anything between fifty and one hundred jobs in the relatively near future. And maybe more beyond."

The JDA took over the two hundred thousand square foot facility one week ago.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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