Vandals strike Memorial Park

By Carol Walker

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Someone in Hill City, instead of constructive activity, has turned to destructive activity. At the city council meeting on Monday night, Deputy Chris Tegnazian reported on recent vandalism at Memorial Park.

“Someone took a rock and destroyed the mirror and the sink in the bathroom at Memorial Park…. The bathrooms are now closed at the park….It happened sometime between Saturday and this [Monday] morning,” said Tegnazian.

City Administrator Brett McMacken said a group wants to use Memorial Park later in the week, so they hope to get the bathroom useable and open by that time.

On Tuesday morning, Dennis Schrier, public works director, said the rock used was about the size of a grapefruit and whoever did it broke the mirror and the porcelain sink but left the toilets alone.

“Someone came in after the fact and put the big pieces in the garbage can and the city crew continued the clean-up after the deputy had a chance to investigate the crime. Someone is on their way to Rapid City today to purchase a sink and a mirror and it will probably cost about $400-$500 for the materials. It’s too bad that the revenue that comes in from taxes residents pay has to be used for something like this,” said Schrier.

He went on to say that about 80 to 100 people were scheduled to come in for a picnic at Memorial Park Wednesday by 9 a.m. and he wanted to have the bathroom available for use by then.

“There has also been vandalism at Tracy Park on the cargo net there. We have had to remove the net because it has become a safety hazard,” said McMacken.

Schrier commented that this has been an ongoing problem with the net. They have tried to repair it, but someone keeps cutting it. For that reason, they have removed the net and boarded up the edges of the towers on the ends of where the rope was so children will not fall.

“We have looked into the cost of replacing the net, and it would be a minimum of $4,200. The windows were broken on the cabin at Tracy Park last year, and they have been boarded up since then because we are trying to figure out whether to replace them or not,” said Schrier.

If anyone has any information regarding any of the vandalism in Hill City, he or she should call the Pennington County Sheriff’s office at 394-6113.

Tagnasia commented briefly on the Rapid City Journal’s report regarding a homicide connected to Hill City last week. He said the last known address for the people involved was Hill City, but the incident did not occur within city limits.

McMacken said Hill City Planning and Zoning (P&Z) is getting into the “meat of the discussion” on the Comprehensive Plan and noted that it will take a lot of work to bring the plan to completion.

“We will probably take at least three or four more meetings to discuss all the categories related to the plan. It will be at least six weeks to two months before there will be another public meeting regarding the plan,” said McMacken after the council meeting.

McMacken said about a week and a half ago, he spent several hours with an insurance company representative, conducting a facilities evaluation. They walked through all the structures owned by the city.

“For safety benefits he had to verify the structures that we have and see if we added any buildings. We do this about every three years. We found a couple things not listed, the railings at Major Lake Drive and below the Chute Rooster,” said McMacken.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce director, introduced Zach Johnson, organizer for Battle Royale, a car show going on in Hill City this weekend. Vintage cars of all kinds will be touring the Black Hills on Saturday and will be on display in Hill City on Sunday. Wetovick-Bily said the Mickelson Trail Trek will is also scheduled for Friday through Sunday, making Hill City a happening place again.

Julie Moore and Joseph Klein requested a zoning change for their property totaling about 10 acres east of the Visitor Information Center. Since it was originally Forest Service land, and before the land was sold it was not known what the property would become, the city zoned it agricultural land (A3).  The couple would like the land rezoned R4, which is the broadest application for residential use and would allow for multi-family complexes, including such things as an apartment complex.  P&Z discussed the change and recommended R3, which would allow for townhomes, a duplex, etc.

“I believe that R1 would accommodate the need currently, but P&Z recommended R3,” said McMacken.

“We plan on living there forever. We don’t have any plans for the property right now, but we just want to make sure we cover our bases and don’t have to come back for another change later,” said Moore.

The council unanimously approved the change from A3 to R3.

The council also unanimously approved the Flood Plain Development Permit for a concession building and restrooms at 301 Major Lake, at the football field and track complex. After analysis, it was determined that the grading improvements to the track found No Rise to the Newton Fork Creek floodway.

Finally, Dallas Alexander asked for a refund of $1,012.73 for application fees, building permit fees and certified mailing fees for a property on Quinn Drive. Building and conditional use permits were approved to place a manufactured home on the property, but the project has been halted and the home will not be constructed.

“This is something that we have never done before. My recommendation is to refund the building permit fee of $804.50 and keep the other fees and mailing costs. The permits will all be voided,” said McMacken.

The council voted unanimously to allow for the refund of the building permit fee.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

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