Boulder Falls paving, other projects are progressing

HOT SPRINGS – An ordinance intended to provide additional protections related to dangerous vicious animals, while also adding pet pigs or swine onto the existing city animal ordinance, was discussed last Monday night, Oct. 16, but then tabled for the next regular meeting of the Hot Springs City Council to allow for changes.

Mayor George Kotti explained that Ordinance 1183, being considered by the council, provides for an amendment and revision to Chapter 4-A Animals and Fowl which adds pet swines to the ordinance, while also providing some additional clarifications on what are considered dangerous pets. The amendments would also provide additional protections for animals when putting them down for cause, he said.

The topic of looking at the existing city rules pertaining to animals was first reported following a June 13 council meeting when Alderman Bob Nelson said the Public Safety Committee was looking into an incident of an aggressive dog biting a local resident. He said the committee, at that time, was hoping to further define what an aggressive dog was, and intended to look at other pets in the city to determine what can or can’t be kept within the city limits.

After several weeks of committee discussion, investigation and tabling from one meeting to the next, Ordinance 1183 was presented by Nelson to the council for its First Reading on Oct. 16; however, after looking over the document once again prior to the meeting, Nelson said he had a couple more revisions he was hoping to include. Those additional revisions, he said, included changing some terminology used – specifically “destroyed” to “euthanized” – and also adding some wording to clarify, that when confirmed by a judge to be a dangerous animal as it relates to the ordinance, animals would be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian at the expense of the animal’s owner.

After further discussion of those additional concerns, along with some other terminology questions by other council members, a motion by Nelson to table the item until the next meeting was approved unanimously by council. Nelson however cited that this topic had been being worked on for several weeks, and he hoped that it could be wrapped up soon.

In his Public Works Committee report at the beginning of the meeting, Nelson made mention of a few other items which were also brought later in the meeting by others, including progress on the Boulder Falls paving project, as well as the planned expansion of the Freedom Trail.

City Administrator Kim Barbieri said the plans for the Freedom Trail expansion were just finalized earlier in the day and that work was beginning this week, with an expected completion date of sometime this fall. See related story on page A1.

Barbieri, who is currently wearing two hats including Building Administrator and City Administrator, also said she was excited to report that four downtown buildings had been purchased over the past four weeks, two of which had been vacant. She said the sales should mean that the business community could expect to see some new activity on North River and South Chicago in the coming weeks and months.

During his report, Mayor Kotti said the Boulder Falls project, located within Southern Hills Golf Course, is moving along nicely and that the asphalt paving was nearly complete. He also thanked Barbieri for her help in developing a job description and new title of Development Coordinator, for the city’s existing Building Administrator and Code Enforcement Officer position. He said he was also planning to form a hiring committee for the position, which would include council members Nelson and Harlene Cain, along with Barbieri, a local private contractor and himself.

Kotti also again brought up the importance of local business input in relation to the S.D. Department of Transportation’s planned reconstruction of North River Street. He said SD-DOT representatives would be visiting with business owners this month, and that he hoped for their support of the cantilever sidewalk concept along Fall River, which would provide additional pedestrian safety as well as an economic development component to attract people to downtown.

In other business, the City Council:

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• Approved a resolution and two different motions in relation to leasing a new street sweeper, and selling the old street sweeper.

• Approved a contract to allow Southern Hills Community Recreation Initiative to use the Mueller Center for youth gymnastics from Nov. 2017 to March 2018, coinciding with the Hot Springs High School use of the facility for gymnastics.

• Approved an Airport Grazing Lease Agreement with Gary and Sharon Romey.

• Heard a report from Finance Officer Misty Summers-Walton who thanked the Hot Springs Elks Lodge for contributing $183.97 to reimburse the city for the purchase of new tennis court nets at Butler Park.

• Approved a plat of lots for a subdivision of Garden of Memories tract in Evergreen Cemetery. Summers-Walton said this was something that has been discussed in the past and pertained to a location in the cemetery which had never been officially platted, despite having four interments of a local family located there.

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