Lake board revives talks of public dock program
The discussion of a public dock program has resurfaced in Mitchell. The Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee said Tuesday it will ask City Attorney Justin Johnson to look into the possibility of operating a city-owned public dock program at the lake,...
The discussion of a public dock program has resurfaced in Mitchell.
The Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee said Tuesday it will ask City Attorney Justin Johnson to look into the possibility of operating a city-owned public dock program at the lake, a program that routinely rears its head every few years in Mitchell.
According to Mark Puetz, a current lake board member and former board president, the program was last discussed in April 2014, but he said former City Attorney Carl Koch had concerns over the city's liability in owning and operating a marina.
"It stalled even after four to six times bringing it back up in front of City Council," Puetz said during the meeting held at the Mitchell Recreation Center. "And it just never got done."
In previous years, the program was promoted as a way for locals and residents of nearby towns without lakeside property to keep their boats at Lake Mitchell during the warmer seasons, but each time the program gained traction it was quickly abandoned.
Lake board members agreed that the program received praise at the public input sessions held in 2014, but no location or cost of access was ever finalized. Before moving forward to discuss details of the plan, Puetz suggested the board have Johnson review the legality of a city-owned marina.
If the project is not feasible, Puetz said, there's no reason to pursue it.
But one board member, Dave Allen, also suggested an alternative if the city deemed the project impractical.
"My thought about it is why have the city do it?" Allen asked. "Why not go to a private enterprise like they do with the campground and lease it out?"
The discussion on the need for a public boat dock comes days after a private boat lift was found sitting in a public access area on Lake Mitchell, presumably owned by someone without lakeside property. With the legality of the private boat lift in question, the issue has since been referred to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks, but it did spark discussion on the public boat dock program.
While Puetz mentioned 2014 as the last time the public dock program was considered by the City Council, the installation of nine new docks for non-residents was proposed in 2011. And in 2004, Lake Mitchell boaters asked for the city to consider a similar proposal, but the plan was soon forgotten.
After the dock discussion, the board briefly discussed one possible solution to clean Lake Mitchell of its algal blooms, but current committee President Joe Kippes expressed his skepticism of the plan.
The plan, which was proposed to Mayor Jerry Toomey in May, comes from Sioux Falls-based All Pit Lagoon Pond Treatment, which uses a cactus extract to eat, kill and nullify algal growth. Kippes showed photographs he received about the company's prior work, but he didn't convey optimism about the plan.
"I wouldn't want to see us get distracted by something shiny," Kippes said.