Ready for repairs

UNEVEN — A man sits on the Hill City sidewalk hursday, July 11. Because of the way the sidewalk is set up, the top area makes for a great place to sit. However, the uneven levels have caused injuries to some, businesses have reported. A plan to redo the sidewalks has been given the green light and construction managers hope to begin the project immediately after Labor Day weekend. [PN Photo/GRAY HUGHES]

Businesses in Hill City have been waiting for the sidewalks in town to be repaired for a long time.

At the Hill City Common Council meeting April 23, the council approved a $665,587.25 bid from Complete Concrete of Rapid City to do the work.

At a meeting July 9, businesses came together to learn more about the project that will literally shape Hill City’s business district.

During work, the existing sidewalk will be changed, along with the installation of a handrai to ensure those on the sidewalk do not fall off the sidewalk as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps to get to the upper level of the sidewalk.

The sidewalk project is slated to begin as soon as possible after Labor Day weekend, said Brett McMacken, city administrator for Hill City, and will be done in five phases.

The first phase will focus on the area starting at Granite Sports and going to the area where the Beef Jerky Outlet is.

The second phase will focus on the area from the Beef Jerky Outlet to Things that Rock. There, Complete Concrete will focus on putting a ramp up to the sidewalk.

The third phase focuses on doing the area from the Harley Davidson store to the end of the block. Phase four will focus on the side of the street in front of the Mangy Moose, ensuring there is a ramp up.

Finally, phase five will focus on the area by Desperados.

Some business owners expressed concern with being able to access their stores when the project is ongoing.

Dave Buck of Concrete Solutions the company in charge of pouring the sidewalks, alleviated those fears.

“During construction, there will be access to businesses except for when construction is happening in front of their business,” he said.

Keith Winter, project manager from South Dakota Department of Transportation, said the DOT will keep businesses up to date as to what is happening with the project.

While the plan was to start with phase one of the project, some businesses took issue with that, saying starting with phase one — even in September — could affect businesses.

“Can we start with (phase four)?” asked Lorena Freis, owner of The Farmer’s Daughter and Cotton Candy Shoppe.

The prospect of pushing back the project two weeks was also mentioned.

Buck said the project could start at phase four but it was preferred to start at phase one because “everything flows downhill.”

McMacken also questioned if work would be done on the weekends, to which Buck said that work will most likely be done every-other Saturday along with the normal times during the week.

“Our goal is, if we have a good crew, and winter holds off unlike last year, we will be done with phase four by mid-December,” Buck said. “We hope to work on phase five during spring 2020.”

The overall completion date of the project, he said, is May 22.

The concrete should be ready to be walked on the next day, Buck said.

However, as the meeting went on, it became apparent that the businesses did not want phase one to be the start of the project since it would block businesses.

Phase four, they said, since it focuses mostly on fixing the curbstop and does not alter the sidewalk, would be preferred.

Buck, after listening to what the businesses had to say, said they would take that into consideration, and construction will most likely start with phase four on the east side of Main Street.

He added that the construction during a time of the year when there are still tourists in Hill City will be “tough,” however, the company will work as fast as the can to get it done. It will continue into the winter, he said, until it is too cold to pour concrete.

To keep businesses informed of the next steps, Buck said there will be another meeting in August after the rally.

“It is happening,” Buck said of the project. “It is going through. It is going to be a challenge, but we will be working with you all. We want to get this thing done and out of the way. …We need to bite the bullet and get this done.”