Golden West Earns Smart Rural Community Award

GoldenWestLogo_Blue_300pxGolden West Telecommunications was one of thirteen broadband providers across the country that recently won National Telecommunications Coop Association(NTCA) Smart Rural Community® Showcase Awards.  According to the NTCA website, the goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community® initiative is “to foster the development of modern, productive communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovation in the application of new broadband resources and next-generation ideas for education, telehealth services, work flexibility, public safety and security.”

Gregg Olson, Director of Member Services, Communications, and Governmental Affairs with Golden West, attended the Dell Rapids City Council regular meeting on Monday, November 19th to tell the council about how Golden West won the award.

Olson mentioned that about two years ago, Golden West finished their “Fiber to the Home” project in Dell Rapids that took about two years to finish.  Dell Rapids was one of the first communities for Golden West to have the project complete.  Olson also said that about six months ago, Golden West submitted an application for the award based on the great things they were hearing about Dell Rapids after the fiber project was complete.

“It takes a community with leadership you have in this community to take that technology and do something with it.  I think Dell Rapids is just a wonderful example of how that’s working where technology is truly meeting community leadership and innovation,” said Olson.

Kari Karst of BXCC, Dan Ahlers of the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and Justin Weiland with the city were mentioned by Olson as being key members of the community that really helped Golden West tell the story of Dell Rapids in the award application.

One of the perks of the award is that Golden West gave three signs mentioning the award to the city that can be placed in Dell Rapids.

“Thank you for the work you guys do in the city.  When we talk about Dell Rapids, Golden West is one of our partners in the community.  Obviously it’s another opportunity for the Dell Rapids community to demonstrate to other people what we do have here and what we can do, and that we can technically support potential businesses,” said Dell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley.

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Highway 115 Work Continues in Dell Rapids

The construction on the Highway 115 Project has continued slowly throughout the months of 2018, but Dell Rapids City Administration still believes that the majority of the concrete work will be completed before the end of the year.

City Administrator Justin Weiland gave a report to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Monday, November 5th.  Weiland mentioned that he thinks T&R Contracting will get the main paving done yet this year, and that is what the contract states.  The contract does also roll into June of 2019 for finish work.  Weiland mentioned that the city probably won’t see the trails poured or the seeding done this year.

“They’re going to have to come in and play cleanup in the spring,” Weiland said.

Weiland also mentioned an issue was recently discovered with the project.  The bridge elevation just west of the four-way stop was designed at a lower elevation than the design for the road elevation.  The issue was not caught before construction, but plans are for that issue to be fixed.  Weiland mentioned that the road diversion has not been removed yet, and he thinks once the rest of the concrete is complete west of the bridge, traffic will be routed back to the diversion to fix the elevation issue.  Weiland also said that he wasn’t sure exactly how T&R Contracting plans to fix the issue, but it will be fixed.  A temporary blacktop patch has been put in place to allow traffic through while concrete work continues.

Not only has the project been delayed, and now has an issue with the bridge elevation, the city of Dell Rapids has also seen a decline in sales tax revenues.  The council was presented with numbers for September, and once again the sales tax revenues were down compared to 2017.  July was down 11.68%, August was down 23.24%, and September was down 6.7%.

“This highway project, in my opinion, has affected sales tax within the community.  The biggest thing that we want to make sure is that people’s trends haven’t changed, or they haven’t altered their habits,” Weiland said.

He also mentioned that once the majority of the project has been completed, they city plans to work with the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce and media outlets to get the word out to people that the city is “back open for business”.

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Some Projects Nearing Completion in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerA few of the projects that have been happening in Dell Rapids this summer and fall are nearing completion.

The Garfield Avenue Improvement project had its final pay request during the Dell Rapids City Council’s regular meeting on Monday, October 15th.  The contractor has just recently finished some grading and reseeding work, and the punch list items being completed.  The council approved the final pay request on this project.

The water tower repainting project is also nearing completion.  The painting of the tower has been completed inside and outside.  The “Dell Rapids” lettering has also been completed on the tower.  Testing on the paint, cleaning up the site, and then getting the tower refilled are the final steps to close out this project.

Another project that is also about complete is the Sioux River Red Rock Trail Scenic Overlook Extension project.  All of the concrete has been installed, and the back-filling and grading has been completed.  The seeding has not been completed at this time.  The plan is to dormant seed the areas in early November.  Some punch list items are also needing to be completed before the project is completely done.

The Rickeman Comfort Station project is also continuing to move forward.  The excavation and concrete work has been completed.  It was reported during the council meeting that the roofing materials are ready to be installed.  After the roof is done, the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical to be done on the building.  The expectation by the contractor is that the building will be finished by the end of November.

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New Truck Route Now in Place

Dell Rapids has an updated truck route ordinance which includes a secondary truck route.  Dell Rapids City Ordinance 856 had a second reading and adoption passed during the regular council meeting on Tuesday, September 4th, but the ordinance did not go into effect until October 1st.

The new primary truck route is as follows:

  1. State Highway 115 from the west boundary of the city turning southeast to the south boundary of the city.
  2. Quartzite Street from State Highway 115 on the west to Garfield Avenue on the east.
  3. Garfield Avenue between Quartzite Street and Seventh Street.
  4. Seventh Street from Garfield Avenue on the west to the east boundary of the city.
  5. County Highway 129 from the north boundary of the city angling southeast to where the highway intersects State Highway 115 (Fourth Street) and continuing south on State Highway 115 to the south boundary of the city.
  6. Zero Street from State Highway 115 on the east to Quarry Road on the west.
  7. The entire portions of Quarry Road and Quartzite Street.

The new secondary truck route is as follows:

  1. Third Street from State Highway 115 on the west to Orleans Avenue on the east.
  2. Orleans Avenue between Third Street and Fourth Street.
  3. Fourth Street between Orleans Avenue and Garfield Avenue.


Signs for the new truck routes that will be placed by the city and the South Dakota Department of Transportation should be completely installed within the next couple of weeks according to comments made by City Administrator Justin Weiland during the last city council meeting.

A question was also raised as to when the new railroad gates would be installed on South Dakota Highway 115 on the south end of town.  It was reported that those gates would be installed after the sidewalks were completely finished to avoid potentially having to come back and move them during sidewalk placements.

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Dell Rapids Free Rubble Site Days Announced for Fall Season

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council approved three “Free Rubble Site Days” this fall during their regular meeting on Monday, September 17th.  The three days will be October 27th (Saturday), November 1st (Thursday), and November 3rd (Saturday).  The council also approved having one of the two Saturdays also be a technology drop day.  City Administrator Justin Weiland is still working SEAM of Sioux Falls to get a date finalized.

As a reminder the Rubble Site is licensed by the State of South Dakota and is restricted to trees, branches, untreated wood, construction and demolition debris, sheet rock, plaster, concrete, carpet, furniture, mattresses, grass, yard and garden waste and leaves, and large household appliances. Fees are enforced by volume and type of material.  Dell Rapids residents only.

Unaccepted items include household waste, cardboard, plastic (of any kind), small electric appliances (TVs, stereo equipment, microwaves), toys, and bikes with tires, shingles, asbestos, tires, hazardous materials, fiberglass.

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Progress Made on Comfort Station

CampgroundComfortStation2018Construction is finally under way on the new comfort station at Rickeman Field.

“We have that comfort station finally under way, three years and three attempts later.  We’ve got the walls up.  They look good,” mentioned City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Monday, September 17th.

The original plan had an October 15th deadline for the completion of the facility, but the contractor has expressed concern about meeting that deadline.  City administration has acknowledged that concern and has expressed a willingness to work with them on the deadline.

The campground updates are still planned to be completed this year.  The city has been in contact with Prunty Construction for the installation of water and sewer lines.  The city has been told that will start to happen within the next couple of weeks.  After the water and sewer lines are installed, the electrical work will take place.

During the construction time, alternative parking on Zero Street and over at Volunteer Park will have to be utilized during games held at Rickeman Field.

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Highway 115 South of Dell Rapids Now Open

Hwy115_Sept2018A portion of the final phase of the Highway 115 project has completed.  The north bridge from 3rd St southward out of Dell Rapids was opened by the South Dakota Department of Transportation in the late afternoon hours of Wednesday, September 5th.  The north bridge has been closed to traffic since December 4th, 2017 to start the final phase of this major highway construction project.

“It will eliminate the detour, which is be a big relief to the community.  It’s been a slog,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 4th.

Construction still continues on Highway 115 from the four-way stop by T&Cs and Dells Auto westward out toward the interstate as projects all across the state are falling behind schedule.

“T&R is doing the Tea-Ellis road, and they’re talking about not even tearing up sections that are supposed to get done this year, and calling it quits and finishing where they’re at right now because they’re not going to get to it.  Hopefully they shift some of that man power over here.  Everybody’s way, way behind all across the state right now.  We might be stuck with this late into the winter season,” Weiland mentioned during the council meeting. Hwy115_Sept2018_2

The first phase of the project, the replacement of the south bridge on Highway 115 and highway replacement to 248th St., began in April of 2016.  That section was completed in a little over a year with the bridge and new road opening May of 2017.

The second phase of the $18.8 million Highway 115 project was the replacement of the Interstate 29 interchange at exit 98.  That portion of the project was re-opened to traffic on November 29th, 2017.

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Dell Rapids Library Releases Final Summer Numbers

LibraryDedication-2Brittany Moeller, the Dell Rapids Carnegie Library Director, presented the Dell Rapids City Council with the final summer reading program numbers for 2018 during the council’s regular meeting on Monday, August 6th.  The summer reading program officially ended the last week in July this year.

“The total sign up for babies through adults for the summer reading program was 654 people.  That’s an increase of more than 220 people from last year, so that’s amazing!  Our numbers just skyrocketed.  We had double the amount of adults and teens sign up, and those are our two hardest groups to get signed up for the summer reading program.  So to have those numbers double was pretty exciting to see,” said Moeller.  In 2017 the library had a total of 426 people register for the program.

There were a total of six different programs for babies through adults.  The library had just under 2,000 people attend just the program, which is nearly double from last year’s number.  That number doesn’t include people who came into the library just to use the computer or check out books.  There were a total of 934 participants that attended five different programs in 2017.

So far in 2018, the library has issued 71 new library cards for a total of 206 new people to the library.  In 2017 the library issued 92 library cards for a total of 212 new people.

“We’ve had a record-breaking summer, and it’s been super exciting and a lot of fun,” Moeller added.

Moeller also said that they would like to keep this trend going, keep seeing people come into the library to participate in the programs, and do all the fun activities.

After the report of the new numbers, Dell Rapids Councilman Gary Haak asked Moeller what she would like to see in the future for the library in terms of programming and reaching out into the community.

“We would like to definitely expand the programs that we do.  Libraries aren’t the same as they were 20 years ago.  The library that my older siblings were used to where they came in and they checked out all these research books to write their papers and that kind of stuff, they still kind of do that, but a lot of that is online.  So now the library’s role is changing.  What we provide now is a place for community members to gather, to be together, to learn new things, to have new experiences whether it’s story time for their kids or offering photography classes or different ways we can involve community members.  We would love to do more things like that, really expand not only the programming that we have at the library, but what else we can do outside of the library in the community, doing more with the schools, and partnering more with the daycares and centers like that.  That’s kind of our main goal,” Moeller responded.

“When we look back at spending the money to add on to this, it shows that we did it right.  Probably didn’t build it big enough now, I don’t know.  If it’s growing like this, it’s good to see,” Haak commented.

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Dell Rapids Citizens Asked to Remove Sump Pumps from Sewer Lines

SumpPumpThe Dell Rapids City Council is asking the residents of Dell Rapids to remove sump pumps from pumping into the sewer lines.  The issue was raised during the council’s regular meeting on Monday, July 2nd.

City Administrator Justin Weiland told the council that the city has seen a dramatic increase in the pumping rates to the new Waste Water Treatment Facility over the last few weeks after the heavy rains.  Normal daily pumping from the main lift station is usually around 220,000 gallons daily in the summer months.  That number spiked to nearly 700,000 gallons following the five-inch rain towards the end of June.

“The reason that we are getting those high flows is because of infiltration.  We know we have infiltration into the system.  When you got a big rain like that, you know everything’s coming in at once.  That’s coming in because you have cracked sewer lines.  You still have some man holes that have holes in the top of them.  It’s just typical ways for I and I (intake and infiltration).  Now when that rain goes away and that initial influx comes in, but you keep getting infiltration, that you can always identify as being sump pumps,” said Weiland.

The city was able to get away with sump pumps being pumped into the sewer because of the lagoons, and the city had the capacity to deal with that.  However the city is now paying for energy costs associated with treating all of the infiltration from sump pumps at the treatment facility.

The city put a note on the latest water bills that were just sent to the residents asking for sump pumps to stop pumping directly into the sewer system.  Administration will also be working on ways of finding and correcting sump pump violations

“When we’re now paying to treat all that, we got to try to eliminate as much of that as possible at this point,” Weiland noted.

According to city ordinance, depositing sump pumps into the sewer system is illegal.

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Waste Water Treatment Plant in Dell Rapids Nearing Completion

DellRapidsTowerThe new waste-water treatment facility plant in Dell Rapids in nearing final completion.  The Dell Rapids City Council approved the release of 50% of the retainer to KCH Construction they kept on the project during their regular meeting on Monday, June 4th.  The release of half of those retainer funds brings the project one step closer to final completion.  The $5.5 million project started in late 2015.

KCH Construction has been operating the plant over the last few weeks and has been discharging into lagoon four.

“From all we can tell with some of the minimal amount of sampling we’ve had the ability to do up to this point, it’s starting to treat, but it’s not fully there.  Everything in the plant is operating accordingly,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the council meeting.

Tweaks and updates are still being made to try to get the microbes working a little better.  A few other items also remain on the project, but they are minimal punch list items and clean-up around the site according to Weiland.

The Dell Rapids City Council is scheduled to tour the new facility prior to their next meeting on June 18th.

The city has also hired a new operator of the facility in Ryan Fods.  Fods will also serve as a part-time public works employee along with operating the new waste-water treatment facility.

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