Keystone on road to improving bridges, sidewalks

By Jeff Smith


The Keystone Town Board was able to come together and discover that they were the recipients of a Bridge Improvement Grant on Sept. 6. This was given by the South Dakota Transportation Commission to use for preliminary engineering. The goal is to repair the bridges on Roy St.

Cassandra Ott, city clerk, said it’s an 80/20 grant, meaning they will have to pay 20 percent in matching funds. Keystone has three years to spend the grant.

“I talked to the engineer about it. He was pretty excited,” Ott said.

Once the Town of Keystone gets the money for the preliminary engineering the board will have to decide what engineering firm to use.

One of the bridges was ranked as the third most critical and the other one was the 23rd most critical. The South Dakota Transportation Commission awarded 26 Preliminary Engineering Bridge Improvement Grants (BIG) totaling approximately $1 million. Fifty-two applications were received which totaled $1.85 million.

The members of the public works department have also started sealing the bridges in Keystone. It would cost $70,000 to chip seal the bridges.

“We’re just going to use some driveway sealer on them,”  said public works superintendent, Jerry Przybylski.

This only costs $19 a bucket and it takes six buckets to do each bridge.

Przybylski also talked about the Department of Transportation plans to move crosswalks. They have some plans in place and it involves shifting crosswalks 20 ft. or so.

“We talked about moving the one by the bathrooms up a little bit toward the post office, eliminating the one by the fudge shop and then moving the one up by Teddy’s (Deli),” Przybylski said.

The DOT is also going to hold a public meeting on Sept. 26 to talk about the crosswalks and Winter St. resurfacing.

Trustee Bill Babcock said he has seen people cross at the Keystone Mall and having to wait since there aren’t any crosswalks there.

Along the lines of repairs and infrastructure Vanessa Row, finance officer for Keystone, said Precision Concrete Cutting Company in Minnesota recently came to the area to discuss replacing sidewalks that have ADA issues. If there is an issue with lips on sidewalks they can make it in an angle instead of tearing concrete out of the whole area.

Row said every problem area is marked out and a more solid plan will be presented at the next town board meeting.

“I think it is a good idea to get some of our sidewalks repaired in this area because of the ADA-compliance issues. We have a lot around here that need to be fixed,” Row said.

She said they can pick and choose what areas are going to be fixed. The DOT is going to be making sidewalks in Keystone ADA compliant but they won’t be looking at ones in areas like the city park.

A couple of property owners in Keystone have not been following the Keystone ordinance 50.078 about meters failing to register as they have been installed backwards.

“I’ve asked them to correct it and it hasn’t been corrected,” Ott said.

There is no penalty set up for people with backwards meters and there was a discussion about fining those with a backyards meter. City attorney Mitch Johnson said if the meters can’t be read the property owners are not in compliance with the ordinance.

Johnson said there could be an amendment to the ordinance about meters working properly. If they are installed backwards then then a $50 fine will be administered.

Przybylski said he would still turn people’s water off if the meters aren’t fixed.

Johnson said if the problem is not rectified in 30 days water should be turned off.

There is also another problem with water meters. There are some old ones that need to be replaced. Ott said businesses should have new water meters. These would be more accurate and would be easier to find, which would save time.

“I’ve sent out letters to a lot of business owners that have old meters,” Ott said. “We need to get those replaced with automatic meters.”

She said the price of commercial meters has gone down so it’s not as much of a burden on the business owners as it used to be.

They were around $2,300 but now they are around $900.

Ott said it would be helpful to get the whole town on the same system and not have any exceptions.

President Sandi McLain brought up how she would like to get groups of businesses together before the end of the tourist season to talk about a Business Improvement District.

“As a city we need to bring some closure to that,” McLain said.

She said there might have been some businesses who thought the town board was trying to undermine the process of forming a BID.

This will be discussed at the next town board meeting on Sept. 20. The public is invited to come at 6 p.m.