Council member not happy about elimination of on-street parking with planned Mitchell streetscape bump outs

“People must not think we have a parking shortage. I think they should drive by in the middle of the day,” Mitchell City Councilman Dan Sabers said of the streetscape features.

A bump out landscape feature sits along Main Street near the Corn Palace, with the designs planned for several more downtown intersections in Mitchell.
Mitchell Republic file photo

MITCHELL — Mitchell’s downtown streetscape project has been gaining steam over the past few months, but a city council member has concerns about the impact it will have on downtown parking.

Prior to the Mitchell City Council tabling an agreement for the streetscape design work at Second Avenue and Main Street and Fourth Avenue and Main Street, council member Dan Sabers voiced his concerns over the elimination of downtown parking due to the future streetscape features at three intersections.

“I don’t get it. We lose eight parking spots on a double (sided feature) like we have on Sixth Avenue. I tried to pull into the 15-minute parking spot, and with a full-sized car it’s impossible,” Sabers said.

When the council approved the Third Avenue and Main Street portion of the streetscape project a few months ago, Mitchell Public Works Director Joe Schroeder said the proposed bump out features of the layout at the intersection could eliminate one to two parking spots per corner. That equates to a loss of four spots at minimum and eight spots on the high end.

Vehicles align Mitchell's downtown business district as people shop at the local businesses on Main Street.
Republic file photo

The availability of Main Street parking has been a talked about issue among some downtown property owners in the past.


Although there are a handful of public parking lots available around the downtown corridor, some nearby property owners and businesses have testified previously in city meetings about a downtown parking shortage.

“People must not think we have a parking shortage. I think they should drive by in the middle of the day,” Sabers said.

The intersection improvements that are part of the streetscape project have been met with some support as well, like Matt Doerr, a downtown business owner, who gave roughly $19,000 in profits he received from selling the former Casey’s lot on Main Street to help fund the streetscape project.

Despite Sabers’ concerns of parking, other members of the Mitchell City Council indicated their support for the project to move forward. The council tabled approving the design agreement on Monday due to requests of adding another downtown intersection to the streetscape project, which is located at East Railroad Street and Main Street near The Depot.

According to Schroeder, design work for the Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue features is priced near $118,000. City officials said adding another intersection at the south end of Main Street to the design agreement is estimated to cost around $60,000, which would bring the cost of the design agreement for all three intersections to around $178,000.

Rough drafts of the design exhibits show both intersections — Second Avenue and Main Street and Fourth Avenue and Main Street — with bump out features at all four corners. The bump outs will mimic that of what’s at the Sixth Avenue and Main Street intersection across the street from the Corn Palace.

City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said the Railroad and Main intersection is the last part of the overall streetscape plan for intersection enhancements. The council will consider adding the Railroad and Main intersection to the design agreement at a future meeting.

The council recently approved a $663,573 construction bid for the bump outs and landscape features to be implemented at the Third Avenue and Main Street intersection. The project is estimated to be finished in 2024.

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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