KATIE ZERR: Mobridge now a town on the water
Looking down Main Street in Mobridge to see the connection with Lake Oahe makes one wonder why it has taken so long for there to be a physical connection.
Not just the past decade of delays, stall tactics and politics, but in the years prior, why was there not a successful effort to make that connection?
Mobridge has been a town by the water for many years. It was not a town on the water. It is now.
Other cities along the Missouri River system have embraced that connection with the water and developed their riverfronts. A walk along the river in Pierre, Chamberlain or even Bismarck reveals the evidence that their community leaders grabbed on to the chance and took advantage of what was offered. There are mature trees, picnic areas and playgrounds, walking and biking paths, docks and fishing piers dotting the shoreline. The lake and riverfronts are main arteries in the body of those cities.
There were failed attempts through the years and this railroad crossing project came up against many barriers before the project was completed.
In reviewing the history of the project over the past decade or so, the fight to make this project a reality was a contentious one.
Those opposed pushed hard against the project, even after funding was secured to create the walking path and infrastructure to support riverfront development.
There were those who didn’t see the vision and fought hard to save taxpayers from what they saw as a huge waste of money.
They couldn’t grasp the concept of grant funding and even protested accepting the funding on the state and federal level.
In fact, looking through the archives brought back the memories of downright nasty council meetings with members pitted against each other over many issues. There were many arguments that made no sense to those sitting on the other side of the table. Residents can be thankful those days are behind us and our councils use information, not personal reasons, when addressing issues before them.
Attending nearly every council meeting in the past 10 years and working with different organizations and committees has been an eye-opening experience. Many who had the vision and could see what the path to the future could be took a beating in the community by those who could not.
Despite the problems that have surrounded this project, the Main Street renovation, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trail and some other projects in the past, there has been one constant that rose above all of the other noise: the will of the residents of Mobridge to make it happen.
That crossing was made a realization because residents worked hard to make it so. They volunteered many hours and worked late nights to plan, clean up and develop that lakefront area. The walking path and now the railroad crossing are two major components in a larger plan to make Mobridge and Lake Oahe a South Dakota showcase and an example for other cities.
Mobridge residents have time and time again stepped up to the plate when asked and have sacrificed personal time for the betterment of the community.
We see it on the lakefront, at our new schools, at the A.H. Brown Library and on Main Street. We see it at our museum, at Scherr-Howe Event Center, at Centennial Plaza and where this all started, in our City Park.
It is the center of our community pride and a shining example of how one project can spur so many that have made Mobridge a better place to live.
The bottom line to all of these projects is making our home the best it can be.
Thank you seems so little to say to those who made these things a reality.
Thanks to those who made this and all of those other improvements a reality. Your efforts are appreciated now and will be for generations to come.