City shifts reconstruction efforts to Rushmore area

Jill Meier, Journal editor
The city of Brandon is taking a year off from reconstructing roads and improving infrastructure in the core area next year. Instead, they’ll turn their attention to those same needs in the Rushmore area. Last week, the city staged an open house for the approximate 70 property owners who will be affected by the planned months’ long project.
Streets in the city that will be improved are Yellowstone Drive, Oak Ridge Road, Rushmore Drive from near the intersection of Kirkwood Boulevard to Needles Drive and south to the cul de sac that abuts Aspen Boulevard.
City engineer said traffic was brisk at the start of the three-hour open house. She said property owners had much of the same concerns that residents in the core area expressed at a similar open house in 2019: trees, driveways, garbage and mail services, parking and incoming sidewalks. Unlike that open house, property owners kept their cool last week. 
“I believe that phase one of the core has enlightened people as to what it’s going to look like,” surmised Alderman Tim Jorgenson. “One gentleman was happy because the landscaping in his yard was coming out that he didn’t like, so it’s nice when people are excited about something you are going to do.”
As the 2020 core area project begins to wind down, Jorgenson believes resident fears of removing trees from the boulevards have lessened. 
“There are still plenty of trees in the neighborhood, there is still plenty of shade, there is still plenty of character, it’s just a little cleaner,” he said. 
Scott Peterson, who lives at 1620 Rushmore Dr., said he came to the Oct. 6 open house to learn more about the project firsthand.
“I wanted to know what kind of inconvenience we’re going to be up against. It’s going to be a lot of inconvenience, but it’s going to be a nice improvement when it’s done,” he said. “I just had to hear exactly what to expect and what the timetables are. Basically, it all depends on Mother Nature on how soon they will get started.”
Jansma plans for the project to be bid out later this year in preparation for council approval in early 2021. She’s hopeful work can begin in April, weather-pending.
Unlike the core area project, sidewalks in this segment of road reconstruction won’t impede as far onto properties. That’s largely tagged to smaller front yards.
Initially hesitant about the added sidewalks, Peterson thinks they’ll be a nice addition to the neighborhood. 
“We have a lot of kids coming in the neighborhood, so it’s a nice safety margin for them to get on the sidewalks. It’s going to be a lot of inconvenience and I’m kind of concerned if you have some elderly neighbors, where are they going to park their cars, how are they going to get their groceries in. We’ll just all have to pitch in and help each other. In my neighborhood, I know that not everybody’s for it. They think it’s a lot of hassle to get sidewalks. They’ll tear up our driveways and sprinklers and our nice trees that we’ve got and our landscaping, and a lot of them would just as soon have a paved street and curb and gutter, (but) I think it’s worthwhile,” he said.
Jorgenson said the improvements are sorely needed.
“I was talking with (city administrator) Bryan Read earlier today, and a lot of this infrastructure has just come to the end of its life. We all want water to come out of our faucets, we want our toilets to flush and we want to be able to have everything function properly,” he said. “I will tell you that when I drive through the core, nearly every time I see somebody on the sidewalk, and there’s still plenty of shade.”


The Brandon Valley Journal


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Brandon, SD 57005
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