City needs to look at whole picture

To the editor:

As I read the Plain Talk this week, I sit remembering another time when the city would not allow 3M to build in Vermillion, because it would bring to much rif-raf to our town. We turned them down and they went to Brookings. Look what they did for Brookings. As you drive by the industrial park on I-29 you see Brookings as a growing, thriving South Dakota community. Our loss was their gain.

Vermillion sat dormant without a whole lot of growth for 40 years. We have started to grow now and have people interested in making this their home. In order to do this the citizens of this community need to realize there might be some inconveniences, but if our community is going to grow we have to live with some decisions that won't make everyone happy.

The city council needs to realize this and they need to take a look at the whole picture for Crawford Road instead of just the wants of a few select citizens who might not vote for them. They also need to realize that there might be more that do vote for them than not if they do put Crawford Road in. I know I will vote for Jack Powell again because of his vote on this one issue, but I will not vote for Dan Christopherson for mayor. I realize I am only one vote, but how many more are out there that feel the same way as I do?

As I sit here writing this a thought comes to me wondering how many of the council members actually live along the area that Crawford Road would go by? How many of them live along University Street and watch those children try to cross the street either going to or from school? Would they rather save a life or injury to one child who crosses that street or inconvenience those few people whe are complaining about Crawford Road going through?

I very seldom agree with Paul Hasse or David Lias, but this time they are right on the money. The city council has tackled an issue that they really know nothing about and evidently they didn't study their history of the city planning commission.

Imagine if there is an emergency down at those homes along where Crawford should go. Now think about how much time it would save for the ambulance to get access to that area. It might mean the difference of life or death.

I, for one, will sign the petition for this to go to a vote and will also vote for it.

Respectfully submitted,

Roxan Brown


Writer is mistaken

To the editor:

The Plain Talk's editorial writer is mistaken; the mayor and city council have provided consistent leadership on the Crawford Woods/ Crawford Road issue for several years. They have followed a deliberative process, including a great deal of public input, to determine whether the 40-year-old, over million-dollar project should remain in the city's comprehensive plan.

The process involved many public hearings: at least one during the transportation study, one before the city council when the transportation study was presented to them, a joint meeting of the city and county planning commissions, attended by many of the city council members, one before a joint meeting of the city council and the county board, and public hearings during the last two successive council meetings. Proponents of both sides of the issue spoke at every hearing.

For over four years two mayors and two different city councils have approved a variety of actions that have all been consistent with the realization that the project would do more harm than good. In March 2002, they changed the "Crawford Road" project in the State Transportation Improvement (STIP) Plan to a generic project connecting East Main to Burbank Road, removing the Crawford Road title from the plan. On Jan. 21, 2004 a motion to remove the Crawford Road project from the transportation study's consultant contract passed unanimously.

On April 19, 2004, a motion that the generic project in the STIP plan "is not Crawford Road" passed unanimously. In March 2005, the council moved the generic road connection project to the distant date of 2013 in the STIP plan. On March 20, 2006 the council and mayor voted unanimously, with one abstention, to remove the project from the STIP Plan and that it "is city policy not to construct" the project. On April 3, 2006, a majority voted to remove it from the comprehensive plan.

For over four years the council and mayor have repeatedly heard both sides of the issue and have come to the conclusion that the project should not be built.

This only represents a lack of leadership to those determined to impose the project on Vermillion.

Mark Wetmore


We should all remain friends

To the editor:

The last city council meeting was less than civil, in fact it was hot and nasty at the very outset. I would like to take the same course that Mary Edelen had set � outside of the council chambers we should all remain friends.

I would like to start by saying to the Planning Commission that I meant no personal offense to anyone and I hope no offense was taken. It was the only logical rebuttal to the allegation that certain (or all) council members are not experts in city planning and that this is an issue best left to the expertise of the Planning Commission (of the VPC members, Judy Clark is the only one with a degree in urban planning).

We (both sides) should all be proud of the mayor and the council members. This is the first time ever that the council actually voted on this issue. They exercised their authority in city governance to issue a line item veto. Previous city governments simply deferred to the city staff and the planning commission and rubber stamped the comprehensive plan as submitted. Through the years, the planning commission provided the cover for the city council to invoke plausible deniability.

To Mr. Hertz, two days ago was the first time I've ever driven to see Countryside Addition: I needed to step in your shoes and understand your side of the story. It is a very nice development, an asset to our town (I would encourage readers to go take a look). We will support you in a bid to make Burbank Road safer (shoulders, curbs) and as the development can only go east, the improvement of Fairview Road. The latter should also provide the farm-to-market road, needed by county residents south of the bluff.

Lastly, we should not vilify one another � we as the "elite few" who are considered selfish because we are unwilling to give up what is ours, and the other side as the implied disenfranchised majority (the current 12 and the future homeowners of Countryside Addition). Actually only an "elite few" will benefit on the other side: the developer, banker, building trade and real estate agencies ($7.7 million). And of course the city ($200,000) in tax revenues. The exercise of emminent domain to increase revenues is against the law in South Dakota.

We realize this is not the end of the story. We should all not allow this issue to polarize the town. This would be irresponsible citizenship. We should look at this issue with a critical eye and exercise common sense in deciding what is good for Vermillion.

Virginia P. Johnson


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