Photo courtesy Avid4 Engineering
Concrete paving is progressing on South Chicago Street near Ace Hardware, with sidewalk installation not far away.
By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Over the next 60 days, there will be quite a few more areas of the downtown reconstruction project that will look finished, according to City Engineer Tracy Bastian who gave an update to the Hot Springs City Council at their Tuesday, Sept. 5, meeting last week.
Bastian, who had attended the weekly public meeting hosted by the SD-DOT earlier that morning, said crews would be adding another lane of concrete on South Chicago later in the week and also begin installing new sidewalk in front of Ace Hardware over the next few weeks.
He gave additional updates on many other aspects of the project, including the 6th Street realignment, which would not be fully completed until next year but said their goal is to install pavement on the new section of road from Chicago to West River Street, which is the road that leads to Brookside Park.
Bastian said that utility replacement will resume on North River later this month, where it had stopped earlier this year near the Southern Hills Mercantile. This short stretch – from there to the intersection with Minnekahta Avenue and National (near the Evans Apartments) – is one of the most challenging parts of the project due to the narrowness of the space. He said there would likely be a signal light installed while work was being done to allow for one-way traffic.
Now that traffic has switched over to the business side of North River Street, work on the suspended sidewalk is also beginning. Bastian said there is a tentative plan to begin removing the old railing and the concrete knee wall in about a month. He said installation of some of the suspended sidewalk towers may also happen in the next couple of months.
A plan is also in place to provide temporary power to the new street lights on North River Street. Council President Bill Lukens, who was running the council meeting due to Mayor Bob Nelson being absent, said the SD-DOT had provided an update and stated 10 lights would be operational from Jennings Avenue to the former VFW building within the next three to four weeks. Once those lights are operational, the temporary solar lights now being used in the that area would be moved elsewhere to provide lighting in other darkened locations.
When asked by Councilwoman Debra Johnston about the University Avenue intersection’s street lights, Bastian said there was not a specific update at the DOT meeting of when those might be installed.
Following Bastian’s update, the council passed a resolution which established a temporary part-time Airport Manager position. Later, when addressing the Personnel agenda item, the council approved the hiring of Ivan Venner for that part-time position.
The council also passed the first reading of the 2024 Appropriation Ordinance, which totaled $6.5 million, including just over $3.9 million in General Fund Appropriations.
“Our goal each year is to have a structurally balanced budget, in which our expenditures equal our revenues. We were not able to accomplish that this year,” stated Council President Lukens, who then said the city is planning to utilize $319,897 from the Fund Balance account in order to make it balanced.