Railroad crew will be here Sept. 18
By Katie Zerr
After nearly 11 years of planning and clearing government and railroad hurdles, the Railroad Crossing project has a set schedule and should be completed before the middle of October.
On Tuesday, Aug. 28, officials from Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad Company informed Mobridge City Administrator Steve Gasser that a full crew will be in Mobridge starting Tuesday, Sept. 18 and stay in Mobridge until their portion of the project is complete.
Gasser said the new switches would be in place the week the crew gets here, with concrete work to follow the next week.
“We should be done with the road work by the first or second week in October,” he said. “This has been a long time coming. The people of Mobridge are finally going to see the project completed.”
The project began with a vision of expansion and revitalization of the community in 2001. The riverfront was one area that members of the then city council believed had been wasted by the community. With the urging of the Mobridge City Council and others, committees were formed to further the expansion and the development of the riverfront.
The land south of the city along the shore of Lake Oahe was purchased and the plan to extend Main Street across the railroad tracks to the shores of the lake were in motion.
These plans have come together in stages, beginning with the completion of the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Trail.
Phases of the project have been completed during the past 11 years. The walking trail, which stretches from just below the Pheasant Drive In to Fourth Avenue East, is complete with an asphalt surface, signs that explain the region’s history and how it relates to the Lewis and Clark expedition, benches that overlook the lake and the new shelter.
The idea for the trail was hatched in 2000, but work didn’t really begin in earnest until 2004, when all the plans finally came together and the ball began to roll.
Future plans are to extend the trail to Revheim Park, where it will meet with a trail the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is planning that will connect the park to Indian Creek.
The area also includes an 18-hole disc golf course.
“This is exciting. It has been a long 11 years but persistence paid off,” said former councilman and mayor Kyle Jensen. “Through the efforts of many we will succeed. We hit a lot of obstacles with this project and with the library, but we were persistent and now they are both getting done.”
Jensen said the people of Mobridge proved again that they don’t give up.
“That is what gets us through the hard times,” he said.
In the fall to 2010, city officials asked the University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning to help explore the possibilities for developing the land along the lakefront, south of Main Street.
Students from the college’s department of city and metropolitan planning integrated the potential of the land with the wants and needs of the community and provide development strategies for Mobridge.
The result was a detailed 45-page booklet that offers an analyses and outlines possibilities for development that melds potential of the land and the needs of the community. Through community input, case studies, community surveys and conversation with residents, the booklet outlines the possibilities for performing arts and entertainment, landscaping and paths, water access and housing.
With the completion of the railroad crossing and the creation of the loop that will surround the city, these possibilities are one step closer.
“We are looking forward to the opportunities that this will open up on the waterfront,” said Mobridge Mayor Jamie Dietterle. “This has been a long-time coming. It is kind of neat to see the vision that these guys had and to be a part of finally seeing it to the finish.”
The road along the riverfront and the part of the lighting are already in place. The roundabout on the north side of the crossing will direct traffic at the south end of Main Street and the crossing.
–Katie Zerr –