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No money for Jamestown amusement park

The Legislature has approved the budget bill for the state Commerce Department, after lawmakers rejected a proposal for a one-time $5 million grant for a proposed amusement park in Jamestown.

The $5 million would have to be matched, and the developer could then approach the state Investment Board for further money, through loans or grants. It would be built on state owned land near the National Buffalo Museum.

"We are just simply helping them, like putting jumper cables on a battery, to help somebody get their car boosted," Sen. Terry Wanzek (R-Jamestown) said during Senate floor debate. "Once we boost it, we are hopeful and determined that it will be a private entity that will be sustainable on its own."

Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) told the Senate he’s concerned about the precedent this sets, after the Legislature approved a bill setting up the Legacy Infrastructure Loan Fund, to invest in North Dakota.

"What we have today is the Legislature sticking its nose in that process, by taking the first project out of the chute and saying, 'Hey -- the Legislature says this is a good project, State Investment Board -- you should invest.'"

SB 2018 is now on the Governor's desk.

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