Big Sioux River Rip Rap Project Completed

The Big Sioux River rip rap project in Dell Rapids was recently completed by Dakota Clearing and Grading along with help from the city crew.  The project consisted of adding rip rap to the north and south banks of the Big Sioux River to spots both east and west of the Garfield Ave bridge.

“We got that in on probably the last window frame of time that we could have possibly got it in because as soon as they were done, the temperatures warmed up quite a bit and it would been too sloppy to be out there moving heavy equipment around.  Dakota Clearing and Grading did it in about three to three and a half days, and did a really great job,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council’s regular meeting on Monday, March 5th.

Weiland also noted that LG Everist needed to be recognized for the project as well for being the “good-neighbor company they are.”  LG Everist contributed all the material to assist the city with the project.



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Dell Rapids Bath House Renovations Discussed in Pierre

DellRapidsBathhouseDell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley, City Administrator Justin Weiland, Dell Rapids Finance Officer Claire Baartman, Dell Rapids City Council Member James Borchert, and retired architect and Dell Rapids native Mark Aspaas met with South Dakota State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) officials along with Governor Dennis Daugaard and his wife Linda in Pierre recently to discuss possible renovations to the Dell Rapids bath house.  A report of the meeting was given to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 20th.

Aspaas has put together some renderings of what a renovation could be as well as put together a potential cost estimate of about $275,000.  Those renderings along with potential uses for the building were discussed during the meeting in Pierre.

“The main purpose of the meeting was to get them (SHPO) to look at these renderings and tell us they had a comfort level of approving them because it’s on the historical registry.  We have to get their approval,” Weiland said to the council during the city council meeting.  “It was a positive meeting.  The governor and his wife responded very positively to the use that is being proposed at this time.” BathHouseRendering

There were a couple of proposed ideas for uses of a renovated bath house.  One idea is to develop a museum within the walls of the interior of the bath house that would provide information through narratives and photographs of the history of quartzite rock in Dell Rapids.  Printed wall panels could be used to portray the history of the quarries as well as the buildings in Dell Rapids that have been built with quartzite.

The other proposed use of the building would be as a public gathering space for family reunions, group gatherings, and other like events.  There could be tables and chairs inside of the building with power for crock pots.  The bath house could then be made available for reservation similar to the building in the northwest corner of the park that is used today.

“I think it’s an important thing to do.  Our community has more younger families moving into the community.  I suspect there is a significant part of the community that know there are quarries here, but haven’t got a clue as to what the role those quarries have played in the history of this community,” Mayor Earley mentioned during the council meeting.

Mayor Earley also noted Governor Daugaard has sent his fundraising process document to city administration.  He also said that fundraising efforts for this project could run similar to the library renovation and expansion project.

“We will be continuing to work on this and hopefully, at some point, we’ll get there.  I think the state historical people appreciate the fact of what we are trying to do in terms of preserving the old bath house,” said Mayor Earley.

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Planning and Zoning Board Gets New Member

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids Planning and Zoning Board will have a new member after the Dell Rapids City Council accepted the resignation of board member Paul Zweifel on Monday, February 8th during the council’s regular meeting.

Dell Rapids City Mayor Tom Earley brought an appointment to fill the open spot on the board to the council.  Mayor Earley’s appointment is former Dell Rapids Superintendent Tom Ludens.

“Tom certainly has experience with dealing with the public over his years of school superintendent.  I think he’ll bring another element of value to planning and zoning.  I think it’s important that we do what we can to make sure that it’s a vibrant board, and it has the resources to do the things they need to be doing,” said Mayor Earley.

Ludens commented, “I’ve enjoyed living here for almost 22 years, and I have nothing but positives about Dell Rapids.  Thanks for your appointment.”

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City Approves New Batting Cage

NewBattingCageA new batting cage will be constructed next to Field E in Dell Rapids after the city council gave its approval.  The Dell Rapids City Council approved the request by the Dell Rapids Baseball Association during the regular meeting on Monday, February 5th.

The Dell Rapids Baseball Association in partnership with the Dell Rapids Softball Association are working on a project to construct a new batting cage along the right field side of Field E.  The start of the project will be this spring in hopes of completing the project early into the baseball and softball seasons this summer, if not sooner.

“As you guys are probably aware, our numbers keep increasing, increasing, increasing, and we have one batting cage right now and that’s up by Rickeman Field.  So really, the youth fields don’t have any batting cages.  We would like to put a cage to start with, one single cage, down the right field line of Field E,” said Dell Rapids Baseball Association board member Jeff Holm.  Holm presented the project during the council meeting.

The Dell Rapids Baseball Association has been in contact with local companies and contractors to provide the materials for the project.  The goal is to try to get most of the materials and work volunteered or at cost to keep the price of the project as low as possible.  The baseball and softball associations did not request any city funding for the project.  Any costs associated with this project will be paid by the Dell Rapids Baseball Association.

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2017 Sales Tax Revenues Up, Building Permits Down in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerThe city of Dell Rapids is on pace to see an increase in sales tax revenue in 2017 over the previous year.  This report was given to the Dell Rapids City Council during their regular meeting on Tuesday, January 2nd by City Administrator Justin Weiland.

Sales tax revenue is currently at $1,128,559.85 through the month of November.  During the same reporting period in 2016, the city collected $1,060,266.89.

“Sales tax is through November, and we’re tracking at 6.4% above previous November.  So we anticipate we will exceed 2016 sales tax totals once again as we have consecutively over the last several years.  So that’s definitely positive,” said Weiland.

The December numbers are not quite finalized, but Weiland said as soon as those numbers become available, the final 2017 sales tax revenue report would be shared with the council.

Even though sales tax revenues for 2017 are trending in a positive direction from 2016, building permit revenue in 2017 was down for the city of Dell Rapids.  The city collected $13,261.50 in building permit fees in 2017 which resulted in $3,681,153.46 worth of building improvements in the city.  In 2016 the city saw $11,816,021.31 worth of improvements and in 2015 the city saw $11,023,410 worth of building improvements.

“These building permit totals were down pretty extensively from the previous year.  I think you can attribute that to the lack of any large scale, commercial or industrial, construction like we have had in the recent years going back to the grocery store, Shopko, or last year was the Midwest Fresh building and the Broin building.  Those kind of combined really elevate your numbers.  We didn’t have one of those in ’17, so I think that’s why you see that number significantly lower than previous years,” Weiland noted.

Not only did the city not have a large scale commercial or industrial construction project in 2017, the total number of new homes built in 2017 was also down compared to 2016. A total number of 10 new homes were built in 2017 which was down from 12 new homes in 2016.

Weiland also said, “The housing starts were a little bit lower than the average has been over the last 10 years or so.  This is something we need to keep an eye on.  I think we’ve all kind of predicted that we might reach a point when housing starts might be a little bit lower from year to year. The housing lot availability is going to continue to dwindle as they get sold.  I really think that’s something that we need to watch and be progressively thinking about the next step for housing.  You don’t want to be limited because your options aren’t there.”

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City Council Election Date Set

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council set the election date for the open City Council positions for Tuesday, April 10th, 2018.  The election will be held at the Dell Rapids Lutheran Church.  This will be a shared election date with the school for the Dell Rapids School Board election.

There is an open position in each ward this year.  Bill Schmidt’s term in Ward 1, Barry Berg’s term in Ward 2, Mike Sterud’s term in Ward 3, and Bob Mier’s term in Ward 4 are all becoming vacant due to term expiration.

“Petitions can begin circulation on January 26th, and they must be submitted and completed by 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 23rd,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, January 2nd.

Petitions need to be filed in the office of the finance officer located at City Hall at 302 E 4th St.  They are open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Wastewater and Water Rates on the Rise Again in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerStarting with water usage in February 2018, the wastewater and water rates for Dell Rapids residents will be increasing.  The first reading of ordinances 851 and 852 to raise the wastewater and water rates were approved by the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, December 4th during the regular meeting.

The proposed increase to the wastewater base rate will be $16.90, up from $16.00.  The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $5.06 to $5.78.

“In 2017, the city implemented an $8.60 surcharge in order to pay the loan on the new wastewater treatment facility.  And going into this, we knew that we wanted to phase in these wastewater treatment costs.  So we did not implement the operation and maintenance rates that were going to be necessary to operate the facility because we won’t have the facility operating until the spring of 2018.  So we knew this was coming.  This is a 9% increase from where the rate currently is at,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland.

The proposed increases to the wastewater rates are expected to raise about $100,000 annually according to Weiland.  He also commented to the council that the city has estimated $100,000 to be the yearly cost of operations and maintenance to the new wastewater treatment facility.

The proposed increase to the water base rate will be $12.00, up from $11.50.  The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $4.52 to $4.64.

“In the budget for 2018, there is included a 3% water rate increase.  There isn’t like the sewer rate that we know we need to increase it for operation and maintenance. The 3% increase is to keep up with inflation and increased costs associated with operating the water across the board,” Weiland said.

Weiland noted that this increase in water rates is also to reflect to the Department of Environment & Natrual Resources (DENR) that the city is increasing their rates on an annual basis.  He said that DENR recommends a yearly increase to keep up with the costs and to keep rates where the DENR sees they need to be as an average across the state.  Weilend mentioned that the increased rates could also put the city in better position for grant funding for the Southeast Infrastructure project.  The city plans on applying for several million dollars in funding for that project in January.


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Second Phase of Hwy 115 Project Complete – I29 Bridge Opens at Dell Rapids

DellRapidsI29BridgeThe second phase of the $18.8 million Hwy 115 project in and around Dell Rapids has completed.  On Wednesday, November 29th, the Interstate 29 interchange at Exit 98 to Dell Rapids reopened to traffic.

Coinciding with the opening of the interstate interchange, the north bridge on Hwy 115 heading south of Dell Rapids will be closed starting Monday, December 4th, resulting in a detour through Dell Rapids.  The detour will be the same detour used Hwy115DetourRoutewhen the south bridge on Hwy 115 was being replaced.  When driving north into Dell Rapids, motorists will be routed off of Hwy 115 to Centennial Dr., to Garfield Ave., and then to 4th St. back west to Hwy 115.  Trucks will be directed off of 4th St. at Orleans Ave. and will need to use 3rd St. to get back to Hwy 115.

“The DOT has reassured me that if they are shutting this bridge down, that the contractor is planning on working as expediently as they can through the winter.  They’re not going to show up, tear the bridge down, and take off site for six weeks, a month or even two weeks.  They plan on working through the winter.  They want to get as much work done when the water level is where it is now so that they can Hwy115NorthBridgebe ready to go in the spring.  It’s also their hope it pushes up their re-opening schedule on the bridge as well,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the regular meeting of the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, November 20th.

The final phase of the project is the replacement of the north bridge on Hwy 115 and road replacement north to the four-way stop.  The highway from the four-way stop west to the new interstate interchange will also be replaced.  According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the overall completion date for the project is June 21, 2019.

The first phase of the project, the replacement of the south bridge on Hwy 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 this year.

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Dell Rapids School Vandalized

DellRapidsHighSchoolDuring the Dell Rapids City Council regular meeting on Monday, November 20th, Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Deputy Kellen Weidner gave a report of vandalism of the Dell Rapids High School.  Officer Weidner reported the vandalism took place during the night of Sunday, November 19th. Nazi graffiti was spray-painted on the side of the building.

“We are aware of it.  It’s something that is happening throughout the county, mostly in Sioux Falls,” Weidner said.  “If there’s any businesses or anything that happen to get any of that graffiti, make sure to contact us immediately.  That way we can keep going on that case.  All of the deputies are aware of it.”

Weidner also reported that the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office deputies are doing their best to be out trying to see people who might be out after hours.

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Public Meeting Date Set for SE Project

DellRapidsTowerThe city of Dell Rapids will be having a public meeting at St Mary’s Catholic Church on Monday, December 11th for the south east infrastructure project.  The meeting will take place in the Parish Hall starting at 6:00 p.m. with a question and answer period with city administration.  The city’s slide show presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m.

A total of 145 property owners will be affected by this project.  A cover letter was sent to each property owner about the meeting to hear about the project and answer questions.  Letters for potential assessment to the property owners for the project have also been sent.

This project is to replace water and sewer lines in this section of the community, and then replace streets and add curb, gutter and sidewalks to areas that do not have it currently.  The area of the project will run south of 7th St to 3rd st and east of Garfield Ave to Beach Ave.SEProjectMap

“This is a big one.  This is an estimated $6.5 million project with about $800,000 in assessments associated with it.” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Monday, November 20th.  The assessed values are for curb, gutter, and approaches on properties that don’t currently have them in place.

“This is an investment and an improvement to our community. Obviously they are going to have to buy in. We want this meeting to provide the people the information they need,” said Dell Rapid Mayor Tom Earley.  “This is another critical point in the development of this community, and it’s something that needs to happen.”

The tentative timeline of this project will be in 2019 and 2020.  Trent Bruce of DGR mentioned during the council meeting that some sophisticated railroad crossings and likelihood of rock blasting that will have to be addressed during the project.  He also mentioned that giving contractors more time to do a project generally results in favorable bids for the project.

“This is an introductory meeting to let them (property owners) know that this is coming down the pipe,” Weiland said.


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