Source: Balitang America
-By Nadia Trinidad, North America News Bureau Chief
SCENIC, South Dakota–
The city purchased by a powerful Philippine church was once a cowboy town that locals describe as “a piece of history.”
Once there were booze and brawls at the town’s saloon.
Once there was a town called Scenic.
Today this remnant of the Wild West belongs to the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
The few who visit this ghost town in South Dakota are not happy.
“I have mixed feelings about (the new owners). This place has history,” said Dan Curr, who works for the township. “It’s has rich memory of the West. What do they know?”
Curr helps maintain the garage that houses the township’s two fire trucks.
When representatives of the Iglesia Ni Cristo bought all 46-acres of Scenic from rancher Twila Merril for $799,000,
They paid him extra to look after the place.
“The guy who calls himself Brother Mar just asked me to make sure nobody vandalizes the place,” said Curr.
The INC is tightlipped on the purchase and its future plans for Scenic.
A spokesman from their office in Daly City, California said they will only release a statement once they get a go-signal from the central church in Manila.
Coldwell banker realtor David Olsen who listed the property said he signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevents him from talking about the buyer’s plans.
Merril was not available for further comment.
The dearth of information surrounding the deal has spawned a lot of talk among the locals.
“They will set up in that town over there and we will live over here. We will have nothing to do with them,” said 85 year-old Bernita Bloom who once taught at Scenic’s public school.
When the town was put up for sale, the Rapid City Journal wrote a news item about it.
Reporter Barbara Soderlin said their story was immediately picked up by the wires.
She expected that a rancher would purchase the property.
“To find out that a church from the Philippines bought it is big news to us.” said Soderlin. “Like you, we want to find out why they would want to buy that place.”
In this small remote place, talk is rife that things may soon change for the better.
But speculation abounds as to what the INC intends to do with a ghost town.
Those who live close to Scenic say they just hope the sale was not shrouded in mystery, because in the end it’s the uncertainty that scares them.