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OUR VIEW: Outsider's view proves useful for city leaders

Sometimes it takes an outsider to really see things as they are within an organization.

We were reminded of that Friday when a group of South Dakota State University landscape and architecture students issued their recommendations for the city of Mitchell.

One of the recommendations is a pedestrian bridge to connect the Dry Run Creek recreational trail to the downtown area. What a great idea (and we're not just saying that because it would allow some of our employees a much-improved opportunity to walk and bicycle to work, although that would be a nice benefit).

Currently, if a walker or bicyclist wants to get downtown from the trail, the only way is to go to the far ends of the trail and hop onto a street. And yet downtown is within view of the trail, only a stone's throw away. It would be great for people on the trail and for shops downtown to have a connecting bridge.

Of course, what sounds good in theory could be complex and expensive in reality. It appears to us that two bridges would be needed: a small one to get across Dry Run Creek, and a large one to get over the railroad tracks that run between the creek and downtown. Getting over those railroad tracks and the cars on them could present some obstacles.

We hope city officials study the proposal further and give it serious consideration. It could add to quality of life for Mitchell residents, boost access to downtown and give people another reason to utilize an existing recreational trail.

And perhaps the SDSU students, or some other outside group with a similar skill set, should be brought in regularly to analyze the city. The bridge idea is beautifully simple and obvious, yet we'd never thought of it or heard it proposed before.

What other improvements to our city are we missing out on, just because we haven't gotten an outsider's perspective on it?