BISMARCK, N.D. — Bismarck officials have given two property owners whose backyards are slipping into a creek more time to accept or decline the park board’s help in stabilizing the slope.

The Bismarck Park Board approved a 20-day extension last week for Jim Hopfauf and David Wolf, who own properties that are slipping into Hay Creek, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The board is continuing negotiations with the property owners. Board members have asked the homeowners to pay more than $81,000 for the stabilization project.

“It’s not our fault, it’s the creek’s fault,” Hopfauf said. “I’m willing to chip in some (of the costs), but not all.”

City officials disagree with homeowners on who or what is at fault.

“They have a bad situation, but it’s not our situation,” said Brian Beattie, a commissioner. “From our engineering studies, it’s come back that it’s their property causing the problem. They need to deal with this. Unfortunately, it’s not happening in a timely manner.”

The slope is also affecting a public walking trail, which the Bismarck Park and Recreation District has deemed unsafe and blocked off.

“We have a trail that’s unusable,” said Julie Jeske, a commissioner. “Members of the community are being punished by the homeowners’ inactions. We don’t know what we’re going to have for snowfall this year. If we have a winter like last year, we could have a tremendous amount of damage that continues to occur.”

The board won’t continue planning or engineering a solution for the slope until Hopfauf and Wolf make their decisions.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune,

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