Sewer expansion plans continue to help drive Parkston's growth

Community received regional funding to expand system to faciliate retailer's growth

The community of Parkston is planning to expand its sewer system west of State Highway 37, which would annex the community's Runnings store into the city limits, helping add tax revenue to the town's coffers. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

PARKSTON -- The community of Parkston is placing its economic development hopes once again in an unusual place: the city sewer system.

In this case, the efforts to expand the town’s sewer system is a chance to help draw a community business into the city limits and add potential sales tax dollars.

Parkston was before the James River Water Development District’s Board of Directors on Thursday requesting funds to help stretch its sewer system to the western edge of the city to connect retailer Runnings to the system.

The city requested $50,000 from the JRWDD and the district voted 6-3 to grant the project up to $40,000. The project has an estimated cost of about $275,000, and most of the project will be funded through a low-interest community development loan made available through Santel Communications with the city.

Parkston Mayor Dave Hoffman said if the sewer is expanded west to Runnings, the company will expand its retail building, which is expected to occur in 2021. Runnings has signed an agreement to be annexed into the city, if the sewer infrastructure is extended. The farm store currently has an aging septic system that is beginning to fail, Hoffman said.


It is the second time in recent years that Parkston has used sewer infrastructure expansion in that way. In 2014, the city received $143,000 in state funds to extend its sewer system to the southwest corner of the community at the junction of State Highways 37 and 44, part of a $400,000-plus project which connected businesses such as MDS Manufacturing, the C&B Operations dealership, Southeastern Electric and the Agland Co-Op convenience store.

Much like that project, the new expansion will replace a drain field septic system in the area and the improvements will help groundwater quality. A new lift station and additional manholes will be installed, as the sewer will be extended by about 925 feet from Sycamore Street to across Highway 37.

Directors Frank Amundson, of Huron, Robert Braun, of Aberdeen, and Clinton Bauer, of Freeman voted in opposition. Amundson said he didn’t know if the work essentially subsidizing Runnings’ septic/sewer upgrades was appropriate and Braun said he wanted to see a financial commitment from the store.

Board Chairman Dan Klimisch, of Yankton, countered, saying that the city has been pretty aggressive about pursuing these upgrades if they felt they could help the community.

“We see a lot of communities that are not willing to expand the sanitary sewer system,” he said, before directing his comments to Hoffman and Murtha. “You’re the opposite way. Hopefully, it works out the way you hope.”

Hoffman said the city has estimated that the addition of Runnings to the city limits will add $40,000 a year in sales tax revenue for Parkston, with the goal for more businesses in the area to tie into the city sewer system.

“We really feel for the economic development, Parkston is the one developing and we needed to do something like this to entice them into the city limits,” said Ryan Murtha, of McLaury Engineering, who is helping consult Parkston on the project. “We can’t force them into the city limits. It was a negotiation back-and-forth.”

Carol Millan, of Mitchell, proposed the $40,000 figure. She said she wasn’t comfortable granting Parkston the full $50,000 -- which is the JRWDD’s limit on a project of this nature -- without Runnings having some financial commitment to the work.


That will leave a $10,000 gap for the city of Parkston and Runnings to figure out how to cover.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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