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Lawrence County Commissioners declare courthouse condition emergency; Meade board lowers speed limit

Lawrence County Commissioners declare courthouse condition emergency; Meade board lowers speed limit

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Lawrence County Courthouse

The Lawrence County Courthouse, shown in this 2015 file photo, is deteriorating near the east entrance to the historic building. County commissioners declared an emergency Tuesday to deal with the situation.  

DEADWOOD | Lawrence County Commissioners declared the county courthouse condition an emergency during their Tuesday meeting.

Tim Agena with buildings and grounds presented on the east entrance roof’s failing conditioning during the meeting.

He said as insurance representatives were looking at the roof to determine the replacement for hail damage, the found bricks that appeared to be ready to fall. 

Bruce Outka, county attorney and administrative assistant, told the Journal Tuesday after the meeting that the county is still trying to pinpoint the cause of the failing bricks and masonry. 

Agena presented an emergency scaffolding plan to the commissioners from Renaissance Roofing that would cost $35,250.00, but the board decided to look into the situation more before making a decision.

During the items from the commissioners, Commissioner Randy Deibert brought up the idea of ending showing meetings on GoToMeeting, a web application similar to Zoom that allows video and audio chatting.

He brought up the idea and stated he wanted to end it so people can’t record and “pick apart” what the commissioners discuss, although he said he would be open to using it during public discussion.

According to state law, public bodies cannot prevent a person from recording an official meeting “as long as the recording is reasonable, obvious, and not disruptive.”

The rest of the commissioners said they support having meetings on GoToMeeting and that it should be kept through the end of September.

Dave Cromes, founder and principal advisor at Illustra Advisory, presented a vision for the historic Kirk Power Plant that would include a multi-use facility to meet the growth of Lead, the Sanford Underground Research Facility and the region.

Cromes said he wanted to bring this to the commissioners on behalf of the plant’s owners in order to raise awareness and begin discussion on the project.

Cromes told the Journal Wednesday that this is the early part of phase one, so determining the overall level of feasibility.

“We’re at a place now where it’s important to share a common vision, so we’re way beyond just an idea,” he said. “This is a common vision we want to share with people so they can see visually what we have in mind. …. That’s not to say we can’t change course.”

Cromes said he and the owners want to include stakeholders in the conversations to have different ideas and perspectives for the project.

During the meeting, the board did not approve the boundary for the road district for Crow Peak Bench Road, Outka said.

Residents of the Crow Peak Bench subdivision had filed a petition and application for the road district to be incorporated into the county May 27. However, two landowners in the Wild Turkey Estate Subdivision, who have land in the portion of the district mentioned in the petition, are against the road district.

Jessy Dietrich, one of the landowners against the road district, wrote in an email to Outka that residents in Crow Peak should deal with the roads within their own development while those in Wild Turkey do the same.

“I purchased property and we are building a home in Wild Turkey estates because I wanted to be part of that development, not Crow Peak bench,” they wrote. “I feel it is unfair to the two Wild Turkey properties included in this to have to pay dues to our HOA and also be forced to pay for a road district that we never wanted to be a part of.”

Outka told the Journal that it’s possible for the boundary to be re-thought and resubmitted with another boundary to the commissioners, but as it stands, the situation ended for the current boundary proposal.

Outka also said the board did not adopt Lawrence County Resolution No. 2020-TBD for a Discretionary Formula. He said commissioners are open to reconsider the resolution and made it clear that if a city wanted to discuss the matter, they would consider altering the resolution.

The commissioners, though, did support Whitewood Economic Development’s efforts to repurpose the educational training facility for Western Dakota Tech, Outka said.

According to documents from the meeting, Western Dakota Tech plans to use the building to hold admissions and financial aid events as well as establish a Northern Hills Licensed practical Nurse Training Facility.

Although the commissioners support the effort, they have yet to approve WeDo’s funding request as a formal application still needs to be made, Outka said.

The board also moved further discussion on the petition for Improvement of Section Line Highway in the Black Hills Forest Acres/Whitewood Forest Acres Subdivision to the July 28 meeting.

The commissioners will have their next meeting at 8 a.m. July 14.

During the Meade County Commissioners meeting in Sturgis, the board unanimously raised the speed limit on Elk Creek Road from Edgewood Place to Erickson Ranch Road back to 55 miles per hour after previously reducing it to 45 mph at a previous meeting, according to meeting minutes.

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