Riverfront development plans needs approval

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Area residents will have their last chance to offer their input in the next two weeks on the proposed plans for development of the riverfront property south of Main Street.

The Riverfront Development Committee (RDC) and North Central South Dakota Economic Development (NCSDED) are presenting the plan to the Mobridge City Council at their Monday, Dec. 16 meeting for approval.

The approval is the next step for the city to move forward with the development of those 30 acres of land.

The plan (see page 2), created by South Dakota State University Professor Chuck McBride with the help of university students, is a template on which the final plan can be created. It is a proposal for various improvements and developments with the future of Mobridge in mind. It is designed with a progressive, diverse, sustainable development objective. The plan includes housing, business, parks, historical sites and recreation uses.

The schematic of the plan will be on display at the office of NCSDED (old city hall) for the next two weeks. Residents can view the plan and comment on it during office hours.

There will also be an open house on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Other viewing times and places are currently being explored and will be announced as those plans are finalized.

The plan addresses a major issue in Mobridge, a lack of housing. In recent years, there has been a growth trend in Mobridge, but one of the major drawbacks to people moving into the community is the lack of modern housing for families. There has been some building, including moderate-income townhomes on Third Avenue West and lower-income one-family homes in East Mobridge.

With the oil boom in North Dakota, economic forecasters say this trend of workers buying homes away from the chaos of the oil fields, but close enough for the workers to travel on their time off.

Mobridge is one of many smaller communities outside to the oil fields that is seeing this growing trend.

By opening up the riverfront for development, one area of that housing shortage will be addressed with construction of new upscale townhomes. No single homes lots would be sold in that area on the proposed plan.

If the council approves the plan, the next stages of development can begin. That includes plotting the sections and courting developers to purchase land to begin building.

There has been interest in the land, as a developer inquired about purchasing land for construction of townhomes in that area. As the plans moves forward, the opportunity to purchase plots of land for business development will also become available. The development will likely be a slower process coming in phases.

At a meeting held Thursday, Dec. 21, members of the RFC, NCSDED, the Industrial Development Committee and the city leaders straightened out a number of misunderstandings, and set a plan to move forward.

Todd Goldsmith of Goldsmith and Heck Engineering told the group there has been cultural testing completed in the area. He said there has not been soil testing completed and because former uses of the land, there may be some areas of contamination. He reassured the group he didn’t think it would be an issue, as he didn’t expect any toxic contamination to be present.

“We need to phase out the project so we don’t damage the potential down near the water,” he said.

There is a skeletal system of water and sewer lines in that area and Goldsmith said roads would also need to be constructed. He said any interested party should come to the city with a comprehensive plan for development before decisions are made about selling any of the lots.

It was agreed that the city must maintain the authority to have control of the development. By selling the land to one developer, it would marginalize the potential. Multiple developers would be the best-case scenario for the land and the city.

Those attending the meeting agreed that having a viewing and setting up the public discussion and comment period for the two weeks is the next step.

The plans can be revised throughout the development, but a basic comprehensive plan should be in place.

McBride agreed to plat the land for development and have it completed before the city approves the master riverfront plan. He will be compensated for his work.

He explained that the city should have covenants according to the plan, in order to keep control of what will be built in the area.

Since there is no true comparisons of land sales in this area (for this type of riverfront development) similar land sales along the Missouri River system will be researched to come up with a starting point for sale. The sale of the land will create revenue, tax revenue and interest in the project.

- Katie Zerr - 

 

 

 

 

 

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