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Council approves acquisition of home along Dry Run Creek for demolition

The city will acquire the 508 W. Ash St. home to have it be demolished in the near future due the house being located in a floodplain along Dry Run Creek.

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Shown here is the 508 W. Ash St. home that sits along Dry Run Creek. The home was acquired by the city during Monday night's Mitchell City Council meeting to have the home demolished. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

A home along Dry Run Creek that has experienced severe flood damages during past rain events will soon be demolished following the Mitchell City Council’s approval on Monday night.

The 508 W. Ash St. home is located in the floodplain next to Dry Run Creek in the central part of Mitchell. It experienced major water damage from the September 2019 flood that brought roughly 8 inches of rainfall in a two-day period. After the flood, the city of Mitchell worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate a plan that would assist the homeowner out of the house to allow it to be demolished.

Through the city’s hazard mitigation grant program, FEMA, the city and the state of South Dakota contributed a combined total of $49,600 to the project, which will help fund the demolition of the home. In addition, Public Works Director Kyle Croce said funds will assist the homeowner with property investment costs, along with paying for landfill fees.

“This is a voluntary program that FEMA has with the state’s emergency management system, and it is for properties that are in the floodplains,” Croce said, noting the current property owner has agreed to participate in the program.

Following the council’s unanimous approval of the project, the city will take ownership of the property before it is torn down. The city is contributing $7,400 for the project, while FEMA’s total contribution for the project is $37,200, and the state is funding $4,960 of it. According to Croce, the property owner gets the assessed value of the property.

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“FEMA puts in 75% of the costs, and 10% comes from the state, and our local match would be for landfill fees and demolition work,” Croce said.

Council member Steve Rice encouraged any other local residents who have a home in a floodplain to enter the program.

Mask opposition continues

During the citizens input portion of the meeting, several local residents continued voicing their opposition to the citywide mask mandate that’s been in place for a little over a month.

Sonja VanErdewyk, a former registered nurse, cited several recent studies that have surfaced, which showed masks have been causing illnesses and mental health issues among children and adults.

“I know people who have had their kids in town have nausea and headaches, and I think you need to arm yourself with all of the information available,” VanErdewyk said. “We can’t just believe one person who says one thing, and there is information that totally goes against masking.”

Reed Bender, a local resident, echoed concerns he has regarding the mental health issues brought on by the mask mandates. Specifically, Bender pointed to the psychological impact masks have had on children.

“You’re making people walk around with a blank face. … The psychological effect that masks are having on kids and everyone is devastating,” Bender said. “I believe what they are doing to children is criminal, and by speaking out about it I risk my freedoms.”

Bender said there has been an increase in suicides among young adults since the pandemic, citing seven recent suicides in a rural Colorado town, while noting the mask mandate contributes to the depression that many have experienced over the past year.

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— To read more Mitchell City Council stories by reporter Sam Fosness, click here.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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