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Local man pledges $5K to Mitchell parks after he's taken off 2017 sidewalk plan

Several Mitchell property owners escaped the grasp of the city's 2017 sidewalk plan, and one local decided to return the favor to the city of Mitchell.

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Several Mitchell property owners escaped the grasp of the city's 2017 sidewalk plan, and one local decided to return the favor to the city of Mitchell.

When the City Council voted unanimously to eliminate a portion the sidewalk plan on Langdon Street south of Oakmond Avenue from due to a lack of foot traffic and the existence of several trees in the area, Jim Loomer thanked the city by pledging $5,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department.

"I'd like to do something for the city of Mitchell and the people of Mitchell rather than spend it on concrete," Loomer said at Monday night's regular City Council meeting.

Streets in Mitchell that will receive sidewalk in 2017 include West Ash Avenue, South Edgerton Street, Anderson Street, Burns Street, North Langdon Street and Wildwood Avenue.

Loomer was scheduled to pay more than $6,000 to install new sidewalk on his property as part of the city's five-year master plan to install pedestrian paths throughout town. But when the council unanimously removed his property from the 2017 plan, Loomer turned to recently appointed Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell and said he would like to cut a check to benefit Powell's new department.

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Loomer's announcement was met with applause from department heads, council members and those in attendance at Monday night's meeting.

Prior to the spontaneous announcement of his gift to the city, Loomer argued the section of street alongside his Oakmond Avenue property is rarely used by pedestrians and would give him several feet of sidewalk to shovel after snowstorms.

"I'm asking you to let me out of putting a walk in there for two reasons: number one, nobody walks in there, and number two, I've got to clean the snow off," Loomer said.

The council unanimously sided with Loomer, even before he announced his gift to the city, and Councilman Jeff Smith said there's no need to install sidewalk in the area until the street is further developed.

And Loomer wasn't the only property owner to wiggle off the 2017 sidewalk plan, which forces city residents to pay for new sidewalk on their property.

Like Loomer, Chuck Finkenbiner questioned the new sidewalk proposed near his home at the corner of Bridle Drive and Roselander Ridge, a cul-de-sac. Finkenbiner said he would lose four large evergreen trees from his yard if a sidewalk is installed on his property. Finkenbiner's home was built after 1992, when an ordinance was approved that mandated the installation of sidewalk on new properties, but the area where Finkenbiner's evergreen trees are located was not a street at the time of the installation of the trees.

After Deputy Public Works Director and unofficial sidewalk czar Terry Johnson said there were not a lot of options available to the city other than removing the trees, the council voted 6-1 to take the Roselander cul-de-sac off the 2017 plan.

Several council members spoke in favor of Finkenbiner's request, including Smith, who said there may be other areas of town that are in greater need of a sidewalk.

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"Right now, I think we could go to another area of town and try to finish something off," Smith said.

Councilman Mel Olson agreed, citing Roselander's location on the outskirts of town as one reason to delay new sidewalk in the cul-de-sac.

"It just seems to me that instead of having this fight now, it would be better off to put our resources somewhere else," Olson said.

Mattie Street construction takes the backseat to Sanborn

The construction of Mattie Street, a partially unpaved road in Mitchell, will likely be placed on the back burner in favor of other street projects, according to Public Works Director Tim McGannon.

McGannon was asked about the possibility to finish Mattie Street in the coming years after the item was briefly considered for inclusion in the 2016 budget. But McGannon said the city has one larger priority it must consider before addressing Mattie Street.

"My thought is every time we go build a block of Mattie for a couple hundred thousand dollars, it just pushes Sanborn back, and I'm not sure we can afford to keep doing that," McGannon said.

According to McGannon, a reconstruction of Sanborn Boulevard will cost Mitchell an estimated $2 to $3 million, and he said the city should be banking the $460,000 it receives from the South Dakota Department of Transportation to apply it to the Sanborn project.

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Councilwoman Susan Tjarks asked McGannon about the project Monday night, wondering why the city could not pave a block of Mattie Street each year to slowly improve the street. After making what Tjarks called a "verbal commitment" to finishing Mattie Street during last year's budget hearings, she questioned why discussions to pave Mattie Street have stalled.

But McGannon maintained his stance that the city needs to address the conditions of Sanborn Boulevard, which is often used by visitors to the city on their drive to the Corn Palace. And, McGannon said, the entirety of the Mattie Street project would cost an estimated $1.5 million in city funds.

During the Traffic Commission meeting held prior to Monday's council meeting, the commission voted to temporarily close the south half of Mattie Street from the intersection of East Birch Avenue onward in an effort to control dust stirred up by drivers using the dirt road.

Mattie Street sits directly south of East First Avenue in the southeastern portion of Mitchell.

Consent agenda

The council approved the following items of the consent agenda:

• Minutes from the July 5 City Council meeting, committee minutes from the June 27 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and the July 5 Finance Committee meeting and May and June department reports.

• Raffle permit requests from Purr N Ruff Rescue with the drawing to be held Sept. 10, L.B. Williams Elementary with the drawing to be held Oct. 8 and from Palace City Pedalers with the drawing to be held Aug. 20.

• Set Aug. 1 as the date for a hearing on the application to transfer Retail On-Off Sale Malt Beverage License RB-20236 and Retail On-Off Sale Wine License RW-20237 from Jeanne Blaalid, 515 E. Spruce St. to Jeanne Blaalid, 800 W. Spruce Street.

• Set Aug. 1 as the date for a hearing on the application of the Palace City Lions Club for a special event malt beverage license, located at the southwest corner of Hitchcock Park on Aug. 20 for the Tour de Corn.

• Set Aug. 1 as the date for hearings for three Mitchell Elks Lodge requests for special event liquor licenses, including a request for Aug. 20 for the Shriner's 60th Anniversary, an Aug. 27 request for a wedding and a Sept. 8 request for a National Rifle Association banquet.

• A consumption permit request for Aug. 25 at the Corn Palace for a Judd Hoos concert.

• Gas and diesel competitive fuel quotations and pay estimates.

• Bills, payroll, salary adjustments, new employee hires and the authorization of the payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• Called the council meeting to order at approximately 6:55 p.m., conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, heard citizen input and conducted the roll call.

• Appointed Nathan Powell as director of the parks and recreation department.

• Issued the Oath of Office to Powell.

• During citizen input, the council heard from Ron Fuchs, who showed pictures of a broken window at the Carnegie Resource Center he claimed was caused by skateboarders who he saw vandalizing the building.

• Also during citizen input, Mayor Jerry Toomey invited Mitchell residents to visit the second floor of the Corn Palace on July 22 for entertainment and music as as a "thank you" to the community. He did not announce a time for the event.

• During citizen input, Councilwoman Susan Tjarks thanked Mitchell's first responders for their service.

• Approved a special malt beverage license for the Exchange Club of Mitchell, located at Cadwell Park from Aug. 3 to Aug. 14, for the 2016 State Amateur Baseball Tournament.

• Met as the board of adjustment to set Aug. 1 as the date for a hearing on the application of Brad Bauer for a height variance of 25 feet versus 23 feet as required for construction of a storage building located at 2501 Anthony Ave., legally described as Lot 14, Block 9, CJM Second Addition, Northwest 1/4 of Section 32, Township 104 North, Range 60 West, Mitchell.

• Approved the application of Gloria and Terry Hanson for a side-yard variance as required for construction of an addition located at 1326 W. Fourth Ave., legally described as Lot 1 and 2 of Outlot 1 of C.R. Johnson's Addition, Mitchell.

• Awarded a surplus senior meals vehicle to Western S.D. Senior Services Inc., of Rapid City, for $5,432.

• Held a public hearing for special assessment roll for the collection of assessments on 2014 and 2015 construction projects, 2015 sidewalk projects and 2015 nuisance abatements.

• Approved Resolution No. 3355, providing for collection of special assessment rolls for 2014 and 2015 construction projects, 2015 nuisance abatements, 2015-4 sidewalk projects, 2014-14 and 2015-14 curb and gutter projects and 2014-15 and 2015-15 paving projects.

• Approved Resolution No. 3359 for a plat of Lot 1 of Crago's Addition in the west 1/2 of the Northeast 1/4 of Section 29, Township 103 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Davison County.

• Approved Resolution No. 3367 for a plat of Lot 1 of Denne's Addition in the West 1/2 of the Northeast 1/4 of Section 29, Township 103 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Davison County.

• Approved Resolution No. 3368 for a plat of Lot 14 in Tract H in the Wild Oak Golf Club Addition, Mitchell.

• Approved Resolution No. 3369 for a plat of Lot 55 of Maui Farms Second Addition, and a portion of Colette Street, a Subdivision of the Southeast 1/4 of Section 31, Township 104 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Mitchell.

• Consider action on Resolution No. 3370 for a plat of Lot 3, Block 4 of the Woods First Addition, a Subdivision of the East 1/2 of the Southwest 1/4 of Section 23, Township 103 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Mitchell.

• Approved Resolution No. 3371 for a plat of Lots 15 and 16, Block 9 of CJM Second Addition, a Subdivision of a Portion of Blocks 9 and 9A of CJM Second Addition in the Northwest 1/4 and a Portion of Irregular Tract No. 3 in the Southwest 1/4, all in Section 32, Township 104 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Mitchell.

• Approved Resolution No. 3372 for a plat of portions of Block 2, Block 3, Block 7, Block 8 and Block 9 of CJM Second Addition, and portions of Michael Avenue, Livesay Lane and Jamaica Street, all in the Northwest 1/4 of Section 32, Township 104 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Davison County.

• Approved Resolution No. 3373, amending Resolution No. 3327, providing for a salary schedule for the officers and full-time employees of Mitchell.

• Held the first reading of Ordinance No. 2547, revising Sections 2-4-2 and 2-4-4 of the Mitchell City Code regarding the imposition of the Lodgings, Alcoholic Beverages, and Prepared Food Tax and the appropriation of the funds thereof to fall in line with state law.

• Held the second reading and adoption of Ordinance No. 2546 to create a Community Services Advisory Board.

• Entered a closed-door executive session to prepare for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee representatives. No action was taken by the council.

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