Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor City should pursue Chestnut Street alternatives

To the Editor:

The Chestnut Street controversy heads into its second year and is becoming quite interesting. The debate is continuing on the choice between a 24 feet, $1.3 million project with a 19-foot retaining wall and potential north bluff destabilization and a $300,000 project that does what most Vermillion residents want and need. Pave Chestnut Street.

Recent Plain Talk entries have discussed the advantages of a wider road and the safety it affords. I do not see how a wider road is always safer. Increased width will lead to increased speed and a less safe environment for motorists. Pedestrians will be unsafe in both designs since neither plans a sidewalk. Even the $1.3 million monster is not really wide enough. The recommended width for a farm to market truck route is 32 feet. The railroad to the south and bluff to the north will limit the ability to have a road with this function to have the proper width.

When the project was first studied over 10 years ago we had not envisioned the western expansion of Cotton Park with its nature area and bicycle path. Now with these areas in place it is inappropriate to have a wide unsafe road in this area. The maximum speed Chestnut Street will have under any design will be 25 mph. It makes good common sense to limit the width so that the speed limit will be more likely obeyed. The area south of the bluff is more adapted to park areas with less development.

At least one Clay County commissioner has gone on record that this wide road is needed no matter the cost. I disagree, as do possibly many Vermillion residents who signed a petition to bring this issue to a vote. The city council thought is best to carry on with the $1.3 million project without listening to the citizens. Now they have second thoughts, as they should. The city council and many citizens now agree there may be some reasonable alternatives.

I offer two alternatives that have been circulating recently and deserve analysis.

* Place two stop lights on Chestnut. One placed to the west of University. The other placed east of Dakota. This would allow one way traffic along the majority of Chestnut. There would be a 20-foot lane of travel in each direction. This has been successful at Gavins Point dam. This would be a perfect inexpensive design for safe slower farm to market travel on Chestnut.

* Another alternative is a road south of the Vermillion River from Dakota Street east on the pre-existing wastewater treatment plant road across the river on a new bridge connecting to the Burbank Road near the Crawford apartments. This would keep heavy vehicles away from the Jolley School and university area, away from the Chestnut residential connector street and provide a proper wider road to the grain elevator. This project could be cost shared between the city and county.

The $1.3 million design is a dysfunctional dinosaur. It is not wide enough for the purpose it was intended. There has been no geotechnical analysis of the north bluff. Potential litigation over bluff instability will be costly. Condemnation of Vermillion citizens' land will cause hard feelings and cost the city too much time and money.

Charles Yelverton


Vote against dissolution plan

To the editor:

On Feb. 12, the voters of the Wakonda School District will go to the polls to vote on dissolving the Wakonda School District. This has nothing to do with the building project or consolidaiton. If this vote passes, the Wakonda School District will cease to exist as of June 30.

If you would like to keep our children in Wakonda, vote against the plan. If you enjoy watching the Wakonda atheletes, going to their band and choral concerts and watching the wonderful plays and musicals they perform, vote against the plan. If you would ever like Wakonda to have the chance to consolidate with another school, vote against the plan.

If you would like to keep Main Street Wakonda in existence, vote against the plan. If you would like to keep all of our young families from moving out of the community, vote against the plan. If you would like to keep our churches from closing for lack of members, vote against the plan. If you would like to keep your property in town from losing value, vote against the plan.

If you enjoy coming to the All-School reunions that the Alumni Association holds every five years, vote against the plan. If you enjoy the summer rec. program and would live to keep our pool open, vote against the plan.

What other town the size of Wakonda has a newly remodeled swimming pool and a nursing home with apartments and a medical clinic? Show your pride in Wakonda and vote against the plan on Feb. 12.


Donna Henriksen


Johnson appreciated

To the editor:

Rural water is a necessity in South Dakota. Fighting for the rural water requires a strong push in Washington before Congress, and no one is a stronger advocate than our own Sen. Tim Johnson. Because of the funding awarded for rural water projects again this year, the people of South Dakota will benefit from clean, safe and accessible water. This is in addition to the economic benefits that come with having the availability for development for an area often forgotten about.

With his hard work on the influential Senate Appropriations Committee, he was able to secure money for three separate water projects that cover different segments of South Dakota. The Lewis & Clark Project, covering most of southeast South Dakota and portions of southwest Minnesota, received $2 million. Over 180,000 will receive water from this South Dakota project.

I appreciate the battle that Sen. Johnson must fight year after year in order to keep funding these projects, and the partnership he has with Sen. Tom Daschle to move these water projects through the Congressional funding process.


Erin Tronbak


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