Council backs purchase agreement with downtown church to help future expansion plans

The entrance of City Hall located at 612 N. Main St. (Republic file photo)

After the Mitchell City Council approved a purchase agreement Monday to help a local church expand, the Mitchell Area Development Corporation is set to gain another Main Street lot.

The agreement calls for First United Methodist Church to sell the lot where a vacant apartment building sits -- located next to the church at 316 N. Rowley St. -- to the city for $1. The Mitchell Area Development Corporation (MADC) will be separately funding the demolition of the apartment building adjacent to the church. In exchange for the teardown costs, the downtown church will give the empty lot it owns in between Einsteins and the torn down Third and Main buildings, otherwise known as the former location of the State Theater, to the MADC, at no cost. The purchase agreement was unanimously approved Monday at City Hall.

According to Mark Vaux, executive director of Mitchell Area Development Corporation, the same demolition company, Vander Pol Dragline, tasked with tearing down the Third Avenue and Main Street buildings will be responsible for demolishing the vacant apartment building next to the church on Rowley Street. The demolition process is set to get underway Tuesday, Dec. 3.

“The city would have more parking opportunities as well, and the church would be able to do what they’ve been hoping for with that neighboring lot, so it’s a win all around,” Vaux said in an interview with The Daily Republic prior to Monday’s council meeting. “We really like this proposal, because we could have more options and opportunities for that corner of Third and Main.”

With the ongoing demolition of the Third and Main buildings taking place in the alleyway behind First United Methodist Church, Rev. Keith Nelson said the timing was right for the demolition of the building to begin. The local church held a vote Nov. 17 that saw an overwhelming amount of votes of approval from the congregation’s board members.


When the vacant apartment building next to the church is razed, the city intends to pave the lot and allow the church and its members to utilize it for parking. Nelson said the church’s overall mission is to expand its 310 N. Rowley St. church building into the area of where the lot sits.

“It will be used for a parking lot until we’re ready to build on, because expanding that way is our ultimate dream,” Nelson said.

According to City Attorney Justin Johnson, the church would maintain the option to repurchase the lot in the future. In addition, Johnson provided some clarification as to the city’s role in the demolition.

“The demolition is outside of the city’s part of the agreement, and the intent is when we take it over it will be a bare lot,” Johnson said. “There were some updates in the language of the agreement that the church requested.”

Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson sees the agreement as a win for all. He said the former State Theater lot is a prime piece of real estate the MADC could bring some great opportunities to.

“We hope this will be another step in the right direction to make some good things happen in downtown Mitchell,” Everson said.

The acquisition of the Main Street lot would expand the lots owned by the MADC on the 300 block of North Main Street, as the entity owns the corner lot of where the buildings at Third and Main are being torn down.

Considering Vander Pol is in position just a few feet away with its equipment still in place from the Third and Main teardown, Vaux said crews will begin the brunt of the demolition process this week.


“The plan would be to have Vander Pol go a few feet down the alley and knock down that apartment building while they’re already in the area with their equipment,” Vaux said. “We’re excited about this opportunity.”

Council approves installing stop sign

The City Council granted a local resident’s quest to have the city of Mitchell install a stop sign at the corner of West Third Avenue and North Wisconsin Street.

After witnessing a long history of crashes at the intersection, Mitchell resident Deb Cap urged the council to install a stop sign, noting she’s been worried for the safety of children in the area.

“People drive horribly fast at that intersection, and we have a family with three kids on one corner and a day care center within a half block,” Cap said. “It’s just dangerous, and we would really like you to do something about this.”

According to crash data provided by the Department of Public Safety, there have been three crashes at the intersection in the past three years.

“The north-south corridor on Wisconsin Street is heavily signed between First and Seventh avenues, so you could make the argument to say a sign is warranted,” Public Works Director Kyle Croce said.

Council member Dan Sabers said he doesn’t see any issues with installing a stop sign at the intersection considering the history of crashes it has seen. The approval calls for a two-way stop sign to be installed at the intersection.

Consent agenda

The following items were considered as part of the consent agenda:


  • Approved the minutes of the Nov. 18 council meeting.

  • Approved the minutes of the Nov. 12 Planning Commission meeting.

  • Approved the following raffle permits: Mitchell Animal Rescue with the drawing to be held on April 11, 2020; Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association with the drawings to be held at all home games.

  • Set the date for the following bid opening: Dec. 11, 2019, for the rebid of Mitchell Airport snow removal contract Project No. 2019-51.

  • Approved change order No. 1 to James Valley Nursery for Burr Street landscaping project No. 2019051.

  • Approved change order No. 2 to H&W Contracting, LLC for Phase II and III of Sanborn Street and utility improvements project.

  • Approved the following new vehicle for hire company applications: Palace Transit; D&J Fun Bus; E-Z Ride Taxi; Lori’s Lift.

  • Approved community services exterior transit vehicle advertising contract.

  • Removed vehicle towing agreement to allow the city to formally utilize towing service company.

  • Approved property tax abatements for Austin McPeek and Ronald Randall.

  • Approved Dec. 2, 2019 pay estimates.

  • Approved bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

  • Recited Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from Grace Baptist, roll call, heard citizens’ input.

  • Approved consent agenda.

  • Met as Board of Adjustment.

  • Set date for the following hearing: Dec. 16, 2019, the Cat’s Meow, LLC (Linda Christensen) applicant, and the owner of Sanborn Rentals, LLC, have applied for a conditional use permit to operate an animal hospital, clinic, boarding, shelter and training business at the property located at 701 S. Sanborn Blvd., legally described as lot 1, block 6, Van Eps First Addition, city of Mitchell. The property is zoned HB Highway Business District.

  • Reconvened as City Council.

  • Approved application for renewal of liquor license for IMART Stores, LLC, doing business as IMART Stores Mitchell.

  • Approved temporary road closure on Sixth Avenue between Main and Rowley streets for the construction renovations to the Mitchell Chamber of Commerce building.

  • Approved purchase agreement with First United Methodist Church.

  • Approved an agreement between the state of South Dakota and city of Mitchell for FEMA hazard mitigation grant assistance application for the Ash Street property acquisition project near Dry Run Creek.

  • Approved dissolving Tax Increment Finance District No. 10 due to the tax bonds being paid in full.

  • Approved city employees compensation plan for 2020.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-93, a plat of lot 21 of the replat of tract A, Wild Oak Golf Club addition, city of Mitchell.

  • Held second reading of Ordinance No. O2019-26, an ordinance that changes the zoning district classification of the real property legally described as Lot 8 and W. half of Lot 9 and South half of vacated alley, block 4, Greenridge addition in the city of Mitchell from R1 Single Family Residential to R4 High Density Residential District.

  • Held first reading on Ordinance No. O2019-27, supplemental appropriations for E911 services.

  • Held first reading on Ordinance No. 2019-28, setting the insurance requirements for tax or Vehicle for Hire companies, along with Transportation Network Companies such as Lyft.

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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