Like most area taxpayers, I have been particularly interested in the proposed I-29 interchange. I attended the Dec 8, 2016, joint county/city meeting. The study that HDR was hired to do clearly showed at least two fairways in our beautiful golf course will be affected. Also several taxpaying citizens who reside in Western Estates will be forced from their homes because of the width and easement of the proposed road. For what? A hundred or 200 people traveling across the interstate from Aurora – rather than travel one short mile south where an overpass already exists. Already bought and paid for.
An attempt was made to have the state of South Dakota pay for it using taxpayer monies. The state studied, surveyed and analyzed the situation and ultimately rejected the proposal. Expensive, and definitely not necessary – especially since the state of South Dakota has now finished a great construction job on Highway 14 (aka Sixth Street) and 22nd Avenue. Great job state. Fantastic traffic flow. (Incidentally, why was a study done on the overpass before the improvements on the Highway 14 and 22nd Avenue project? A waste of taxpayers' monies). So, the idea of an overpass is done? Not quite!
Now, an attempt to have the federal government pay for it (it’s still taxpayer money). After the federal government reviewed the proposal, it was rejected again. Other projects were approved – more worthy of the government grants.
No means no. No interchange.
If the city council is so concerned about moving traffic on the south edge of town, why aren’t they concentrating efforts and thoughts on 32nd Street South? The overpass is there. It exists. It works perfectly – plus an abundance of possibilities for new businesses along both sides on 32nd Street South for over two miles in the City of Brookings. Gas stations, restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, retail, grocery stores (think of the extra property taxes and sales tax revenue). 20th Street South has none of these possibilities – none. Plus, industrial facilities and businesses on the east side of I-29, and new housing developments on the west side of I-29 are definitely moving south. Let’s get ahead of the movement. 32nd Strtet South is the answer. Already paid for and working. No need to spend taxpayer’s money when the solution already exists.
As citizens, we need to concentrate on affordable housing, feeding everyone, education and medical coverage. That’s what’s important to every single taxpayer. No interchange!