Daugaard Goes Green in Hilger’s Gulch; GOP Spin Blog Copes Poorly

Pat Powers and I appear to agree that Governor Dennis Daugaard’s plan to convert the closely manicured turf of Hilger’s Gulch in Pierre to wildflowers and other native plants is a good idea. However, while I recognize the plan as good ecological and fiscal policy, Pierre native Powers reveals that his policy evaluation happens entirely through the persistent lens of sycophancy.

Governor Daugaard wants to convert Hilger’s Gulch to a more natural-looking park for good green reasons—and when we use “Daugaard” and “green” in the same sentence, we’re talking dollars:

“This is a planned transformation and it’s going to save us time and money,” Gov. Daugaard said. “On average the state has spent around $36,000 annually for irrigation and $23,000 annually for mowing, fertilizing and weed treatment. In dry years, the water bills have approached $50,000. We’re taking this project on as an effort to be better stewards of that money.”

For the project, the Governor selected vegetation that can thrive in the natural climate of central South Dakota. The new plant life is expected to save money over time because it will require less maintenance and will not necessitate the use of chemical herbicides [Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, press release, 2015.07.27].

The Governor’s press release secondarily mentions the aesthetic benefits of reseeding to wildflowers and hardier native plants. Perish the thought that our Republican Governor utter the words conservation or environmental benefits, but saving water is in itself a good conservationist action, and I noted a couple weeks before the announcement the environmental benefit of promoting pollinators. The plan is double green.

But the Governor’s plan appears to turn the crank the wrong way for some of his natural constituency, the country club crowd who think any green space should look like a golf course:

Hilger's Gulch protest poster, post by Bob Mercer, 2015.08.16.
Hilger’s Gulch protest poster, post by Bob Mercer, 2015.08.16.

Bob Mercer reports that some Pierre residents apparently plan to turn out Monday night to raise a ruckus in Hilger’s Gulch for fifteen minutes in protest of the Governor’s green plan.

Pat Powers should hate this plan. The Governor is proposing change, and in the conservative world, change is bad. He’s acting by executive action, and in the GOP spin blog world, executive action is dictatorship. Local opponents say the shaggier flora could provide habitat for nasty critters, and Pat is scared to death of critters in town. And Bill Janklow turned Hilger’s Gulch into the Kentucky bluegrassy knoll it is today, and how dare anyone undo Bill Janklow’s holy work?

But no. Determined to defend the prerogative of his dear leader and blog sponsor, Powers contorts the Hilger’s Gulch issue into a curious defense of property rights:

But despite the falderal, it’s still the golf course owners’ property, and absence violating local ordinance, he should be allowed to maintain it as he will. The fact that it is government property, and all this maintenance is paid for by taxpayers should weigh far more heavily on the argument than the local property owners wanting their nice green view.

If we are going to open up the argument to the public, and have a public meeting in Pierre, where are the public meetings in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, etc. don’t those taxpayers deserve a say in the matter? Or is it only deserving of comment from those who want to maintain a nice green view? [Pat Powers, “Why I Can’t Get Excited over When the Governor Stops Wanting to Water Hilger’s Gulch,” Dakota War College, 2015.08.21]

Can you make sense of that? The government can do what it wishes with its property, and local wheels should stop squeaking for their grease? Pierre residents are selfish whiners and should submit to the will of the out-of-town majority?

What Powers is really saying is that he’s stuck between the anti-green, anti-government slogans that tickle his sponsors and a sound environmental conservation action taken by one of his sponsors that challenges that thoughtless sloganeering.

Here’s the simpler and more consistent narrative: a few decades ago, Governor Janklow screwed up by tearing up a natural area and created an artificial park that imposed ongoing cost on the taxpayers and the local environment. Governor Daugaard is undoing that error with eco-friendly landscaping practices endorsed by the EPA, demonstrating that conservation is good for the environment and the budget. The Hilger’s Gulch conversion is a model of stewardship that should encourage all South Dakotans to convert part of their lawns to native plants, which would save on maintenance costs (less mowing time!), run-off of fertilizers and other pollutants into the local watershed, and water usage.


61 Responses to Daugaard Goes Green in Hilger’s Gulch; GOP Spin Blog Copes Poorly

  1. wow-15 minutes-quite a comittment governor!

    anyone know the politics of the GFP’s fairly strange effort across the street from adelstein’s gravel pit on Black Hawk road-swampy lakes? lot’sa state four wheel drive pickups, odd attempts at creating natural hills and meadows, or prairie-whatever

    maybe it is just a work in progress. big public works project-sorta. city center sculptures, too. second gen. fountains and what-not. politics.

    Maybe elizabeth lynn-cook’s native sculpture park will get some more state /county/city attention?? just speculating.

  2. Those whining country club types need to shut their yaps. My tax dollars don’t go to make a pretty golf course just for them to look at from their back yards. I say they should seed the place with baby skunks.

    At least the minimum wage workers ripping out the sod will be earning the highest effective minimum wage in the nation, according to journalists and researchers at the Washington Post.

  3. Ms. leslie, I think your blind hatred is causing you to misread or misunderstand the green poster.

  4. Why use a great word like ‘folderol’ and misspell it as ‘falderal?’ PP’s spellcheck must be on the fritz, along with his sense of selective self-righteousness.

    Maybe Don remembers this, but I recall that Janklow’s war on Hilger’s Gulch involved the illegal pilfering of a petroleum reserve fund to rid his view of weeds and trash. Pierre residents grudgingly accepted Janklow’s urban renewal project after a lot of whining and accusations inside and outside the State Capitol. It’s funny to hear the whine returning to our Capital City residents over the Hilger’s Gulch Soap Opera.

  5. larry kurtz

    Powers’ mobility scooter won’t go through native prairie, init?

  6. Mr. PP is a big fan of flowers but when they rip out all the sidewalks in the gulch the bumblebees will keep him away.

  7. Paul Seamans

    If Pierre’s residents want Hilgers Gulch to be maintained as it presently is then let Pierre’s residents pay for it.

  8. Mr. Seamans, I bet it is only the residents who live abutting this gulch who want the free lawn watering for their own benefit. They feel country club entitlements are theirs indisputably.

  9. PlanningStudent

    Grudz you have no clue what you are talking about.. The home owners abutting the gulch including my family support the plan. And it’s not all roses along the gulch, sure some houses are nice but most of the homes are modest and several are trash. Abutting home owners are actually separated from the trimmed grass area of the gulch by native grasses and trees. Because of this most abutting property owners actually lack a view of the gulch. Pierres elite don’t even know where the gulch is, it’s not close enough to the river for them to care.. You spew such misdirected hatred towards complete strangers. I feel bad for you.

    CH, you spent more mental enerergy trying to tear down PP and all conservatives rather than just making this a simple community issue like you’re usually good at when you write about Madison, Spearfish, or Aberdeen. should have just ignored PP and spoke to the story…

  10. Mr. Student, then how come a small group of rabble rousers are hosting some sort of sit-in against the plan tomorrow. I am told their leader is the head of the Pierre Chamber of Commerce. I wonder if a fellow were to walk around this gulch and look at all the parts that extend beyond the golf course and run for acres and acres back up the gullies and for miles in all directions if the skunk problem is really a red herring. A red herring by the Pierre elite, who feel entitled.

    I am glad your family supports the plans, Mr. Student. Good for them. Shame on the elitists.

  11. Roger Elgersma

    Janklow and Trump are able to ‘get things done.’ But that does not mean good gets done. It does not mean that we get it right the first time as is more possible when there is discussion and the majority rules rather than a dictator in charge. So some of these Janklow goof ups will die over time. Now lets get rid of the gag law.

  12. CH has a bit of revisionist history here. The state bought the property in 1957. Prior to that, it was a golf course since the early 1900’s. Not pristine prairie, not a gorgeous natural SD vista. A golf course. The state then ignored the property for decades and let it become overrun with noxious weeds, skunks (of which I trapped a number) and other invasive floral and fauna which would have had any other landowner in the County paying big fines to the weed control board. It has not been “natural” in any way for almost 100 years.

    Janklow finally listened after 40-odd years of complaints and at least did something. Like it not, it needed doing.

    Now, a bunch of old-time residents who remember the mess don’t want it to go back to those days. They have (Horrors!) organized a grassroots local effort to fight the government for their community. I guess that kind of effort only makes CH happy when he agrees with the cause.

    Corey: how can you reconcile poo-pooing their grassroot citizen effort with yours on the ballot initiatives? Do I detect just a hint of hypocrisy at work here?

  13. I quote from Harold H. Shuler’s book, “A Bridge Apart”. Page 143:

    About 1914 the Pierre Country Club reorganized again and laid out a nine-hole sand green course in the vicinity of where Riggs High School and the Department of Transportation building are now located. Robert B. Hipple says “the No. 1 tee was on a small bluff on the west side of Hilger’s Gulch, north of the Capitol power plant” (about where the DOT building is now located.) Hipple says “a golfer drove the ball easterly across the gulch to the No 1. green located in a small valley, now a part of Riggs High School grounds. I hit my first golf ball from that No. 1 tee on the west side of Hilger’s Gulch.” The remainder of the course was located east and north of the gulch.

    So, is the area under consideration for the planting of wild flowers where the DOT building is or where the powerplant is, which my maps show is way over by the little lake? Or is the area under consideration for the planting of wild flowers and not just for the entertainment of being eye candy for the Pierre elite farther north, across the street even from the DOT, and running way up an old horse pasture?

    Mr. mhs, I believe your pa’s book and my own memories.

  14. Donald Pay

    I walked through Hilger’s Gulch a lot before Janklow made it a monocultural lawn. It wasn’t pristine, but there were several large areas of native prairie mixed in with weedy patches, located mostly in the bottom of the gulch. If this was a golf course at one time, they left a lot of the native prairie in there.

  15. Mr. Pay, the golf course did not cover the part of the gulch where it is now a manicured green lawn only for the eyes of the elite. That area, according to many records, was a horse pasture until the late 1970s. Probably not unlike all the other area surrounding the manicured pretty green right now, areas the back right up to people’s back yards. The “skunk” worries are just a red herring put up by the elitists and rich people who want other people to pay to manicure their lawns.

  16. MHS, that’s not revisionism, that’s just error! I had no idea it was a golf course once upon a time. Perhaps Janklow really improved some parts of the gulch from prior neglect, but Donald indicates that Janklow still uprooted some native grasses. Janklow evidently took the Gulch in the wrong direction.

    And MHS, I’m not opposed to citizen activism. I encourage people to speak up when they disagree with the government. (The fact that the Governor is acting by fiat here means folks cannot take out a petition to refer his action, which is kind of a bummer.) But notice: PP poo-poos this citizen uproar because it opposes his party leader. I disagree with the substance of the citizen protest because the plan they are protesting is good for the environment and the budget.

  17. Mr. H, the part of the gulch in question here was never a golf course. Today it is a green lawn resembling a golf course paid for by the many for the pleasure of but a few. These few are whiners, it seems.

  18. Paul Seamans

    If the Gulch goes back to native and there are a few weed problems then rent some goats for weed control. This is done all across the US.

  19. Grud, get a copy of Pierre since 1910, there’s photos! Pa and his partners owned everything East of the Library over to the highway bypass and, over the course of 40 years, developed the hundreds of homesites that are there now. Guess what lucky teenager got the duty of fighting all the encroaching state – owned foilage every summer?

    They don’t call a weed-whacker an “idiot stick” for nothing!

  20. Roger E, I would have voted for Janklow for President before I would have voted for Trump.

    Paul, if we do turn to ruminants for weed control, will we call them landscape-goats?

    Planning, I regret that I have disappointed you. I agree that, in the vast mediasphere, Governor Daugaard’s plan and the public opposition to it deserves much more coverage and is much more instructive for public policy than my highlighting the already obvious hypocrisy and paucity of original, articulate thought from Dakota War College. My dorsal duck feathers are not yet fully impermable.

  21. I grew up in Pierre and remember the mess when MHS did. It was just as he described. One of Janklows motives was to turn it into a walking area for state employees over their noon hour. In fact that was what was done first. Then it took on a life of its own because the weeds and wildness made the path unused by the women who liked to walk.

    I find it hilarious a whole lot of people who never lived in Pierre have so much to say about that which they know nothing.

    MHS, Planning, Pat, & Pay at least have actually been there.

  22. larry kurtz

    Yet Bill Janklow developed diverticulitis from sitting on his cerebellum long enough to cut off all connections to satisfying bowel movements.

  23. larry kurtz

    Pierre can’t slough off into the river fast enough.

  24. larry kurtz

    If Hilger Gulch sloughs into the river creating a tsunami that wipes Mike Round’s house off the map will the new bridge across the moat still be done by 2025?

  25. larry kurtz

    an apostrophe is a terrible thing to waste.

  26. Donald Pay

    Troy,

    I agree Hilger’s Gulch needed some management, but the monocultural lawn was not needed. It was heartbreaking what Janklow did to that area out of ignorance. Lots of good prairie remnants were left, and they could have been coaxed back in other areas. Now that is not possible, so they will have to reseed with native plants.

    Madison, WI, has lots of restored tall-grass prairie adjacent to housing and commercial areas and paths for walking. It’s great, and a much better stress reliever for harried government workers than a lawn.

  27. larry kurtz

    Troy: do you still pray before that Janklow photo?

  28. larry kurtz

    man age ment just has creepy smeared all over it.

  29. grudz, continued racism concerning Pe’ Sla is the issue without which all other inane posts ad nauseum might be tolerable as “cute”. read “Lakota Star Knowlege”, sinta gleska univ.

  30. mike from iowa

    Troy,I don’t have to birth a shoat to know good bacon when I eat it. Nyah,nyah,nyah!

  31. Donald Pay

    Troy,

    Here’s the deal with that land. It is owned by the people of the state, so they have a right to speak out on how it is managed, no matter where they live. I think Governor Daugaard should have opened the process up and let people have a say.

    As an out-of-stater now, you can discount my opinion, but I loved that Gulch when I could walk it and find native prairie. That was before the walkways were put it. It was sort of a mess back in the early 1980s, but that’s because the State failed to manage it. I support reconversion of the place to native prairie, with a nice walkway and picnic tables for state workers and others to enjoy the natural heritage of the Missouri Breaks area while on breaks.

    Besides, it will save on water, mowing expense, etc., but it will require some management. The tax savings may not mean higher salaries for teachers, but there will be some money saved. The management expertise is probably at GF&P, if not in the Grounds crew, so you won’t incur much extra expense in the conversion.

  32. Nick Nemec

    There is no reason why Hilger’s Gulch can’t become a show place of the native species and terrain of central and western SD. Potentially it could become a nationally acclaimed urban park that is visitor friendly and showcases the environment it is part of. There are many places with vast expanses of irrigated blue grass, a tourist will not travel to see them. Some money will have to be spent on upkeep and control of invasive species, I doubt the State will allow it to turn into a skunk and rattlesnake infested weed patch.

  33. Mr. Nemec makes a lot of sense here. The only people against this are the ones who just want a private, green view. I am sure when it is completed they will never admit they like the show place we taxpayers provide for their back yards. It could become an actual attraction for out of town people because as Mr. Nemec says, nobody drives off the interstate or even across a town they may be visiting to look at a big empty mowed patch of grass that, as we have established, is not a golf course today.

  34. Don and Nick: I agree with the change proposed. That said, I think anger at Janklow is misplaced as what became what we have was well received by all when proposed. The people of Pierre were mostly glad something was done.

    One must also appreciate what led to giving it attention. Prior to construction of the State Library, Kneip Building, Rawlins Library, and YMCA the area was a place hardly noticed despite it being in the middle of town. An impulse to making it look as good as possible isn’t bad.

    Sometimes we should admit good intentions don’t always get the desired result and a dufferent ideas consistent with the same intentions is good and we should just unite behind the new solution without making it a chance to criticize a dead man.

  35. mike from iowa

    Some timid souls prefer their prairies paved with the attendant two-legged varmints that prey on unsuspecting people.

  36. Troy, I’m learning a lot from the local perspective that you, MHS, Planning, and Donald offer. Thank you. But don’t lump Pat in with that: he contributed no vital local knowledge and offered only his strange sycophancy to his sponsoring executive. Even the viewpoint Pat wanted to express is getting better explanation here on DFP.

  37. Don’t call it “anger” toward Janklow, Troy. I love the idea that Janklow figured state employees could use a nice spot to get some exercise and outdoor recreation during their lunch breaks. But Janklow implemented that good idea with bad landscaping. The key word Donald uses in his critique is monoculture. Opponents of Daugaard’s plan seem not to understand that native biodiversity is healthier than the current uniform Kentucky bluegrass. Daugaard is actually creating a model of healthier lawn care and agriculture for the entire state. The converted Hilger’s Gulch will become a useful illustration for debates on agriculture and conservation in the Legislature.

  38. Nick Nemec

    Troy, I don’t think there is any anger at Janklow expressed here on this issue, except possibly by Mr. Kurtz. The sentiment I hear is that an area that was a diamond in the rough was given an unartistic cut and polish. I hope the current governor has utilized the expertise in the SDSU Range Science and Horticulture Departments in designing the proposed new park. I’ve lived on and had daily intimate contact with the prairie of central SD for 50 years longer than DD and don’t feel I am qualified to design or pick out species for this proposed park. He has lived in Pierre for 6 years and even then, since he is the governor and not a range scientist, hasn’t had intimate contact with the prairie. He gets kudos for coming up and implementing the idea, let the experts handle the details.

  39. larry kurtz

    Isn’t this just another government land grab driven by an anal-retentive, autocratic unitary executive looking for a quiet place to get away from his subjects?

  40. mike from iowa

    Besides,rattlesnakes won’t eat wingnuts. Too sour.

  41. Donald Pay

    Yeah, maybe a bit of disgust and mild anger on my part at losing what was a natural area that could have been an asset. I have to admit I didn’t speak up at the time, not that Janklow would have listened to me. And I agree that the sentiment of Pierre people at the time was that the state needed to “do something” about Hilger’s Gulch. So, Janklow “did something,” and it was generally well received at the time. My daughter liked the sledding hill, I will say that.

  42. You have understand how we Pierre-ites would scoff a bit at the idea this tiny patch of land being considered for a potential oasis of tallgrass prairie. By Stanley county standards, the area is smaller than a pumpkin patch. You need to see the ranch of Troy and my friends the Mortensons, who’ve been practicing sustainable grazing for generations. Ted Turner’s 150,000 acre hobby farm down the Bad River Road a few miles is another, then there’s Roy Hauck’s legendary Triple-U to the Northwest. These places alone tally over a quarter million acres of breathtaking SD native tallgrass prairie within a half hour of the Governor’s mansion. Pardon us if we’re a bit skeptical of what the Gulch project will be.

  43. Hey, waddya know: you can see Mortenson’s! Enjoy everybody!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZJF-PRitnI

  44. Donald Pay

    Except, mhs, there isn’t another state capitol that could boast about a prairie within a couple blocks of the Capitol Building that extends out toward some large ranches. The symbolism of connecting the native landscape out to the agricultural bounty and back the other way to the seat of government would be a compelling statement, I think.

  45. But imagine the tourists who don’t have time to drive out to these multi-millionaire ranches or permission to go onto the property. They visit our Capitol Building and see the paintings of prairies and homesteaders and walk around the fake lake to look at the statues. And then they wander over for a short lap around the Gulch of Hilger where they can see first hand how the native grasses and flowers looked before getting into their RVs and heading west on I-90 for Wall Drug.

    The state will probably put up self-service daily pass boxes on the walking trails. Pierre-ites would of course be offered an annual pass at a reduced rate, since they can always drive out to Mortensens and see the big version.

  46. Mr. Pay and I are of the same brain.
    Scary, init?

  47. MHS,

    I am laughing too about this being an oasis. Or some big environmentL disaster was done. They just need to go 50 yards north of the “maintained” area and you have probably 100 acres of more gulch as natural as can be. And nobody would give a lick of concern if someone wanted to weed wack more walking paths.

  48. So you’re saying this fear of skunks overrunning the town is unfounded, Mr. Troy?

  49. Donald Pay

    No, it isn’t an environmental disaster. As far as I know none of the prairie remnants in Hilger’s Gulch had endangered species, or anything unique that would prevent Janklow from plowing it under and planting bluegrass. And, of course, folks familiar with the Pierre area know there’s lots of prairie out there in various condition, but most of it in pretty decent shape most years. It’s why I never lifted a voice against Janklow’s plans, and I wasn’t someone who let a real environmental disaster go unconfronted.

    But that isn’t the point. It’s the lack of vision, and the waste of money and resources needed to keep bluegrass alive many years in a semi-arid environment. Daugaard, for all his stunning lack of vision in other areas, at least has proposed something of value for a change.

  50. Plus, this will distance the Governor from the Pierre elite who want to sit on their decks and drink morning tea with their exclusive view of a green watered lawn. He is going anti-crony-landscaping.

  51. Don, I like your symbolism angle, hadn’t thought of it in that context before. And “semi-arid” is probably hopeful thinking!

  52. Bottom line: much is being made about what is basically a benefit large companies with a lot of office employees desire for the mental and physical health of their employees to take quick walks over their breaks and noon hour.

    The critter issue is not insignificant as up the gulch in the natural area I am pretty sure there are a lot of animals that if seen on the path will discourage its use. The Janklow plan was better than nothing or the weed-wacked original paths. And in my mind this is better yet.

  53. When I go to Pierre, I’m much worried about the threat to my personal well-being posed by certain critters inside the Capitol than those roaming the grounds and Hilger’s Gulch.

  54. Those critters/legislators inside the Capitol during the legislative session may have illegally snuck in a firearm in their paranoia and with questionable firearm safety training may accidently discharge their weapon causing harm to others or themselves.

  55. Has the Governor thought about turning the Governor’s Mansion into a Bed and Breakfast as a cost saving measure? The $2.87 million 14,000 square foot property poised peacefully on the shores of Capitol Lake has facilities to host 100 guests and would be quite a destination for vacationers and national conventions looking for a unique, relaxing and enjoyable experience. The Govenor’s Mansion turned into a commodity would be a huge boon to the South Dakota economy and could net in excess of over $3 million to the state. It would be unique since it is the only mansion in the area.

  56. troy -is the capitol not a “large company[s] with a lot of office employees [that] desire quick walks…noon hour”??

    maybe i’mma gonna hav tah live an’ work in the center of the state to grasp this delicate issue.

  57. Ruth Smith

    I am from Sioux Falls and have enjoyed walking Hilgers Gulch for the past 16 years. Pierre is a beautiful city to visit and it is because of Hilgers Gulch. If one visits doing any holiday the American Flag is on display up and down the walk way. What a beautiful sight. Can not believe how anyone could think of destroying such a beautiful area. It is more beautiful then any city park in Pierre. Imagine walking on gravel. How disgusting would that be. You can be sure no one would be using it. If the state does not want the up keep then I suggest turning it over to the city of Pierre for a park.

  58. “Here’s the simpler and more consistent narrative: a few decades ago, Governor Janklow screwed up by tearing up a natural area and created an artificial park that imposed ongoing cost on the taxpayers and the local environment.”

    I grew up in this area and prior to Governor Janklow screwing it up, we residents really enjoyed walking through the cacti, thistles, cockleburs, yucca plants, and tumbleweeds Hilger’s Gulch offered and still offers if you venture about a block away. When spring arrived, we relished in the mud, muck and gumbo washing across one of Pierre’s major streets for a couple months devoid of unsightly and unnatural sidewalks.

    Before you break down this topic for we total morons from your pontificating world headquarters, you should do a bit of research. The amount of Kentucky bluegrass being discussed that has now been chemically burned was about the size of your local junior high football field and still is surrounded by the rest of what it looked like long before the Verendrye brothers visited. All Pierre residents wanted was something that wasn’t what they see surrounding them when they looked at that little patch of green.

    Last month, we walked around the grassy area in question (about 5 minutes walk max) then went hiking into the natural side of Hilger’s Gulch and King Mountain. I can say that I don’t miss climbing above and around all the cacti, thistles, cockleburs, yucca plants, and tumbleweeds while dealing with the mud and the muck from runoff. Any of you armchair naysaying out of town pontificators who haven’t hiked this area – hit me up. I’ll give you a tour.

  59. Pierre residents had no voice in the outcome. As far as I know, the city didn’t have an option to buy or maintain this area and for some reason, the mayor bought into this whacked plan. This whole debacle was sprung on the community with little or no notice until some local residents found out what was happening and decided to take action in what little time they had. There was no discussion with the community and it was just done.

    When you drive in and around Pierre, there are little garden areas at intersections that used to be filled with broken bottles, beer cans and debris. Local clubs took these areas over and cleaned them up and planted grass and flowers they paid for themselves or received donations because they care about where they live.

    This governor has no plans on staying in the city and has no vested interest in what happens.

  60. Onremlop, why would the mayor buy into this plan? Why does the state control this land? The terrain doesn’t allow for development, does it? Would the city even want to buy it, if that option were offered?

  61. -Why the mayor did nothing is a good question that was never asked by any reporter since reporting isn’t what it used to be. Maybe the part time mayor’s full time job serving as a Cabinet Member for Governor Dennis Daugaard may be a reason and most of the city council either works for the state or has a spouse that does.
    -The state owns the land.
    -Any terrain allows for all kinds of development provided you have enough money.
    -Buying the land, or coming to a mutual agreement with the city was not an option the state provided. The state said this was a “maintenance project” and didn’t really need to involve the city, but the state Bureau of Administration did turn to an attorney to define “maintenance project.” If it was even the option for the city to buy it, they could at least have the local citizens have a voice in this area.