Rocks are being forced out below Museum Drive

By Carol Walker

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In the public comment portion of Monday’s city council meeting, Lee Christianson, who lives below the Museum Drive bridge, showed photographs to the council of sand and dirt spewing out from the hillside and piles of it on his property below. In addition, rocks are moving outward on the hill.

“Rocks are bulging out from the hill, some are out about a foot,” said Christianson.

Brett McMacken, city administrator, told the council that Dan Pladson, public works director, and his crew recently stabilized a sinkhole on Museum Drive but eventually something more will have to be done. Currently five mile per hour signs are posted on either side of the bridge because of steep dips in the road at those locations. McMacken will have Kale McNaboe, city engineer, come and examine the road and the bridge.

McMacken also reported that Paula Huizenga, Grants Program engineer for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, sent the Main Street sidewalk project plan back to McNaboe with just a few minor corrections to be made, which can be taken care of within a week. McMacken said he has only three or four building owners on Main Street to talk to about easements.

“The October start date for the sidewalk project might be pushing it a little, but it is a three month project. If it starts in November or December or January, it should be able to be completed by March of 2019,” said McMacken.

Councilwoman Kathy Skorzewski commented that starting in February would be too late, to which McMacken agreed.

Due to drier weather conditions, the wastewater treatment plant retention pond is drying up, and no new liquid is going into the overflow pond. It is only a foot deep now and the foul smell has been eliminated. The public works department is still working on the private property in Allen Gulch where there was infiltration of rain water earlier in the summer wreaking havoc with the sewer system and a yard, which is still dug up. McMacken said it was kind of like Murphy’s Law in that situation. Everything that could go wrong, did. The city continues to work with the land owner to rectify the problem.

He reported that the digitization of city records, a project that began in 2010, is nearly completed. Dani Schade, development services coordinator, and Betsy Brose, account clerk, have been working on the project, which should be wrapped up in three to four months.

Probably the longest discussion at the council meeting revolved around policy for submitting claims to the city. Councilman Jim Peterson was concerned that at every meeting, late claims were brought before the council, which were not in the original packet available to council members the previous Friday. His concern was that council members did not have an opportunity to research a claim, if need be.

“I think if a bill is not into the city in time, you wait two weeks until the next meeting,” said Peterson.

Carla Sheldon, city finance officer, said she tries to meet the needs of the client and not incur any late penalties. McMacken said sometimes a claim may be submitted, but the internal process takes time as it goes to different departments.

Another issue for Peterson and Councilman John Johnson, was the motion made after executive session at the last meeting. A claim for Ponderosa Consulting, a firm used for a personnel matter, was approved, but the amount was not recorded in the minutes. Mayor Julie Wickware Klein said that was an oversight on her part. The minutes were amended to add the fee of $1,628.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, chamber director, reported that the chamber is catching up on numbers of visitors in the Visitor Information Center with about 100 tourists coming in each day. She continues to preach, “Dream Big,” and said we need to keep forward momentum and think, “What do we have, and what can we build on?” Some of the things coming up in September are the Mickelson Trail Trek, ArtForms Anniversary Celebration, Buffalo Roundup, the Plein Air Paint Out and the 1880 Wine Train, which is already sold out.

She went on to tell about the partnership with the Magnitudo film crew from Italy in August 2017, saying the crew has requested logos from several businesses who participated in the project, including South Dakota Tourism, Hill City Chamber, Black Hills Institute of Geological Research and High Country Guest Ranch. The Magnitudo crew was also impressed with Prairie Berry Winery. The film, Dig for the Monster, is set for national release on Dec. 10, 2018. It was suggested by Skorzewski that this be considered as a film for the Black Hills Film Festival.

In other business, the city approved a conditional use permit application for turning a single family dwelling at 272 Pond Court, near the Little White Church, into a duplex and eventually a triplex and installing three RV sites in the back driveway.

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

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