​Philip Mayor Mike Vetter, back left, and project engineer Jeff McCormick, standing, fielded questions from involved property owners during the project’s preliminary design meeting. The city is trying to acquire funding for the project from other agencies to supplement city funding. Among discussion topics, the main one seemed to be whether to narrow the streets to a norm of 41-feet or pay extra to keep the current 51-foot widths.

City, landowners discuss southwest project

A public meeting on the city’s Southwest Philip Improvement Project was held Nov. 16, with approximately 30 people attending.
“We want to make a fair project for every taxpayer in the city – all of whom are helping to fund this project – and the property owners,” said Philip Mayor Mike Vetter.
Jeff McCormick, project engineer with Schmucker, Paul, Nohr and Associates, reviewed the preliminary design and options.
Sanitary sewer lines, manholes, storm sewer lines, street underlayment, the street surface and other directly related costs would be the city’s share. The city would also pay 60 percent of specific items shared with affected property owners. These special assessment items would include curb and gutter, sidewalk, and driveway approaches. Other additional items requested by the property owners would be 100 percent on the property owner.
An example was given of the average 50-feet front residental lot. Curb and gutter, driveway and sidewalk is estimated at $4,095. City council members stressed that the city, as in previous projects, would shoulder 60 percent of this individual lot cost.
The estimated construction cost, of W. Oak St. from S. Howard Ave. to Philip Ave., and S. West Ave. from Pine St. to Ash St., if it were narrowed to a normal residential street width of 41-feet, is $2,354,000. This would be increased by another $52,000 if the extra, current width of the street was kept. For a wider street, snow removal, chip seal and other maintenance costs would also add up over the 30-year life span of the project roads.  
It was discussed that the one half block which could possibly be increased in width is south of the courthouse on W. Oak St. from the alley west to Howard Ave. The courthouse’s south lawn and the opposite side of the street could be turned into diagonal parking areas for the courthouse and for nearby businesses. Parking along the rest of the project would be parallel.
Two property owners voiced their desire for the street width to stay the same. One property owner voiced her approval for a narrower street. The rest of the audience did not vocalize their opinions. Council members stated that truck traffic and speeders might naturally diminish with less expansive lanes. They also pointed out that, to diminish such incidents, violators should be reported by residents.
Some property owners stated that they had recently put in new sidewalks or their individual costs would be greater because they own a corner lot. The American with Disabilities Act corner intersections are the expense of the city, not the property owner on a corner lot. Narrowing the road would leave property owners with a wider area between their sidewalk and the curb, which some property owners said they liked. 
Drainage in the project area could be handled by either a storm sewer or surface drainage. For S. Howard Ave., though, surface drainage would be far less expensive and more practical. Estimates would increase by another $56,000 if a storm sewer was put in from S. Howard Ave. to S. West Ave. The city council did authorize to install storm sewer that connects to the existing storm sewer on S. West St., as well as install curb and gutter on S. Howard Ave. south of W. Oak St. for additional drainage.
Various funding sources are being applied for. One property owner, admitting he was stating the obvious, said, “If the funding does not come through, this is a no-go, right?” City council members agreed that was the case.
After the meeting, Vetter stated, “I thought the meeting went well. I was pleased with the turnout. It was informative. We presented our plan, the audience gave us their feedback, and we explained the reasons for our plan.”
See the official board minutes in next week’s issue of the Pioneer Review.       

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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