City won’t roll up sidewalks this fall

By Carol Walker

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How many years have members of the community been discussing Main St. sidewalks? How many times at a city council meeting has John Johnson asked the question, “Anything new on the sidewalks?” On Monday night the council and the public heard something new on the sidewalks.

Brett McMacken, city administrator, reported that the Sidewalk Task Force, which consists of McMacken, Johnson, Rich Zacher, Gary Sokol, Janna Emmel and Ray Berberich, met recently with Kale McNaboe, city engineer, to discuss the changes made to a document that was written and then reviewed by the State Dept. of Transportation (DOT). They requested changes to the document.

“A 40-page document went to a 120-page document. The major thing for Kale as he works on this plan is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The slopes have to be appropriate, and he has to make sure there are flat spots in front of each business. There will be ramps and railings and a major change in front of  Desperados,” said McMacken.

One requirement of the project is that existing canopies would have temporary structural supports while the sidewalks are being constructed. Then when the sidewalks are completed, permanent, engineered structural footings for the canopies will need to be in place.

McMacken said if the plan is approved, the project could begin in mid-October and could be finished by the early part of April. McNaboe believes that is a reasonable timeline. The sidewalk improvement will be completed in five or six phases, each one covering about one-fourth to one-third of the block beginning with a couple phases on the west side of the street, then jumping to the east side for a phase, and then back to the west side. This will not hinder vehicle traffic, and pedestrian traffic will have to be maintained during the entirety of the project.

“I am hoping when we send this document to the state there will be no comments back. The project shouldn’t take that long once we get started,” said McMacken.

The new water tank was delivered in panels and assembled on the foundation. According to McMacken, the epoxy used to seal the seams will take about seven days to cure, after which the tank will be backfilled and a couple rounds of different chemicals put into the water to make sure it is fit to use. McMacken thinks the project stayed within budget, but he will have the final numbers at a later date.

“I’m glad we went with Great Plains, even though the cost was a little more, they got the tank to us ahead of time. They had a fast production time. We have no concerns or complaints, and they are great to work with,” said McMacken.

Angela Raderschadt, a representative from the Heart of the Hills Booster Club, explained the schedule for the high school prom and post prom, scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 22. In past years, letters were sent to the council requesting a donation from the city for post prom. This is the first year the request was placed on the agenda for the council meeting. The council was told Keystone Town Council has given $250 each year for the last three to four years, and a motion was made for Hill City to match that, but it was not passed for lack of a second.

Mikal Lewis came before the council with quotes he had received for replacing the windows at the Hill City Public Library. The city budgeted $15,000 for the windows and installation. He recommended they approve Dakota Craft’s bid of $7,264 for Hurd windows and use Aspire Builders, R.J. Elliot, for the labor at $3,366, with a possible additional $500 for exterior trim, if needed. The total cost is $11,130, which is under budget, but Lewis said that would give some cushion if they find any rotten boards that may need replacing when the old windows are removed. The council unanimously approved the quotes for windows and labor.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce director, said the chamber is ramping up for the summer months, “fiercely dedicated to promoting Hill City.”  She reported that the total number of phone inquiries, walk-ins and online requests is up 4.2 percent over last year at this time. She talked about a tour group coming to Hill City at the request of state tourism.

“The state called us first because they like Hill City. On May 21 a small, important group is coming. It is a group of Japanese tour guides,” said Wetovick-Bily.

Gervase Hittle presented a second letter to the city council, asking that it be included in the minutes of the meeting. He said the city council rescinded lawful, parallel parking on Poplar St. for three reasons: a complaint alleging the parking created a safety issue, 87 signatures on a petition and the fact that it is a collector street because it is the only ingress/egress for a residential area. His letter stated the street falls short of many of the South Dakota DOT recommendations for collector streets.

What he took issue with is that the owner of InsideOut had received assurance from Planning and Zoning, the Hill City Council and the city administrator that parallel parking would be allowed, but the promises were retracted. The curb was painted yellow and four additional “No Parking Tow Away Zone” signs were installed in addition to the three already in place, something he has not seen anywhere else in town.

He urged the “Hill City Council, in the interest of equity within the business community, to reverse its decision and to refer once again this issue to the Planning and Zoning Commission.”

Councilman Jim Peterson, after the meeting, said he had looked into the issue when it first emerged. He contacted the DOT to see what its requirements are for collector streets and discovered that the state calls for a 28 ft. wide street.

“What I found out is that our own rules, our subdivision rules, require a 32 ft. wide street. I voted on this issue based on those rules,” said Peterson.

Johnson, president of the council, said he does not recall the council giving assurances that parking would be allowed on Poplar St. He was also not sure how the city determined the number of “No Parking” signs.

Dale Householder, P&Z chairman, said he does not remember the P&Z board giving assurances that parking would be allowed on that street. He did not know exactly how the number of signs was determined.

“The problem with parking on that street comes in the winter, and when snow covers the yellow curb, you don’t know whether or not parking is allowed there. Perhaps the signs were put there so people would know,” said Householder.

McMacken agreed that signage is needed during the winter months. He also said the city staff consulted a book that is a guide for the spacing of signs on city streets and that is what was followed. He also said he looked into the question of whether or not assurances had been made for allowing parking on Poplar St. and did not find anything regarding that.

In other business, the council approved the transfer of a Retail Malt Beverage License and a Retail Wine License to Doug and Michelle Olson, new owners of the Bumpin’ Buffalo Bar and Grill. Also approved was a zoning change request from R4 to C3 for two parcels on Chute Rooster Dr. and a final plat for a lot split on Thompson Dr.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Apr. 24, at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

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