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Oil company grants funds for handicap ramp at Lake Menno

MENNO — The joint venture between the Lake Menno Development Association (LMDA) and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks received a $3,000 grant from the TransCanada Corp. to help fund a new handicap accessible dock at Lake Menno.

The cost of the total project is expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000.

On April 2, 2017, TransCanada reported to the National Response Center that close to 17,000 gallons, or an estimated 400 barrels, of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline at Freeman, about 15 miles northeast of Lake Menno. TransCanada owns and operates the Keystone Pipeline, which originates in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, to Patoka, Illinois, and separately to Port Arthur, Texas. It is a 30-inch pipeline that was constructed between June 2008 and March 2010.

"There was a pipeline leak east of Menno and one of the guys from the clean up stayed at the lake and that's how it started. He said we should apply for a grant for community projects," said John Huber, supervisor at the South Dakota Department of Transportation in Yankton.

Wayne Berreth, field technician at TransCanada Corp. and part of the cleanup crew after the spill, suggested Huber start the application process for the grant.

"I camped out at the lake during the cleanup, where I met John Huber. I was so impressed by the lake, that I told him to ask my company for a community grant," said Berreth.

"TransCanada Corp. has a Community Investment Fund to give back to the communities where our pipeline goes through," said Robynn Tysver, spokeswoman for TransCanada Corp. in Omaha, Neb. "I don't know anything about the spill or if this grant has anything to do with it."

The new handicap accessible dock will give people who have difficulty reaching the shoreline easier access. The fishing dock is located on the north side of the parking lot near the boat ramp and nestled near several fish structures that were placed in the lake bed before the lake filled.

A new parking pad was also installed, along with a walkway to the dock. All of the site preparation and concrete work was done by volunteers.