Crawford is vital link

To the editor:

As all the city council members except one were new since I retired as city engineer in 1998, I wanted to go into the history and planning of Crawford Road at the city council hearing on April 3, but was cut short by the mayor who allowed some to testify at both meetings. I felt the city council did not have all the facts as evidenced by the news story and minutes of the March 20 city council meeting.

The first planning commission was established in 1965 with Bill Farber as chairman. The city hired Harland Bartholomew and Associates, well known city planners and civil engineers of St. Louis, MO, to help the planning commission draft the first comprehensive plan for the city of Vermillion, which included a major thoroughfare plan, proposed zoning regulations and subdivision regulations.

After the comprehensive plan was adopted, it was up to the city council and planning commission to adopt a zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance and capital improvement program. Developers then had to submit a preliminary plan of their subdivision plans and plats to the planning commission for study and review, which had not been done before, even though the city council, according to state law, had to approve all plats and certify that the streets on said plats conform to the system of streets of the existing plats of the municipality, before the plat was recorded.

This policy was initiated in April of 1966 which was after the Plat of Lots 21A, 23A, 24A, and 26A, Block 1, Ridgecrest Addition was approved and recorded.

The city was growing rapidly to the southeast from 1961 to 1978, at which time the sanitary sewer was installed on the south end of Crawford Road so Crestview Drive could be extended into Lots 1 through 16, Block 5, Ridgecrest Addition west of the cemetery as platted and dedicated by Fredrick Duerr, Lawrence Thorsheim and Robert Pliley. They also dedicated the east half of Crawford Road and later gave an easement for the west half of Crawford Road so the south 456 feet of the street could be constructed and give access to their two new 12-plexes.

The city council then budgeted enough money to purchase the remaining portion of the west half of the right-of-way for Crawford Road. The city council decided to wait for more development before constructing Crawford Road from Crestview Drive to Burbank Road, as Crawford Road to the north had not been platted yet. Later there was an attempt to have Crawford Road removed from the comprehensive plan. After no alternatives could be found by the planning commission, the planning commission reinforced their recommendation to complete Crawford Road.

Then mayor Bill Radigan made a presentation to the city council, stressing the need for another street in addition to University Street to accommodate traffic to and from the southeast part of Vermillion. He stated that traffic along the west side of Jolley School should be decreased rather than increased in the future. The city council voted 5 to 4 to leave the completion of Crawford Road in the comprehensive plan.

Crawford Road, like University Street, is a section line and should be a through street if possible. The original plats of this area were one mile between section lines and these section lines were designated as roads with 66 feet of right-of-way. Some of these right-of-ways were not opened if there was an obstruction like a lake or bluff. Even so, our forefathers, back before cars were invented, felt there should be a road every mile in the country, and every block in the city.

Let's think 3-D with an 85-foot high bluff, which would require a 40-foot fill section and a 40-foot cut section, which would be expensive. A ravine is a natural place to build a road over a bluff like Dakota Street, University Street and Fairview Avenue, where Mother Nature has done most of the grading for us. The only ravine between University Street and Fairview is Crawford Road. Crawford Road from Main Street to Burbank Road was never considered as a truck route because the grade would be too steep for trucks.

Main Street, Burbank Road and Dakota Street were designed and designated as farm-to-market roads. There is no need for a farm-to-market road at this location. This short section of Crawford Road should not be called an extension, but a link of two sections already constructed. The preliminary plans width of this link was 30-feet curb to curb. The property owners said they did not want to build on the lots that would front on this link so there is no need for parking, or a center turn lane.

At this time, owners of 157 platted lots, and the renters in two 12-plexes would use the combination of Saginaw Avenue and Burbank Road to reach Vermillion. Don't these 450 or more people count? Don't they need access to the hospital, the high school or their friends in the southeast part of Vermillion? This figure does not count the farmsteads, Mount's Development, Walker's Development and future development along both sides of Burbank Road. I believe Vermillion will continue to grow to the southeast.

My home is less distance from Crawford Road than any of the homes along Valley View Drive would be. I built my home knowing this and I don't believe the traffic will be a problem. It appears the Crawford Road link will also be put up to a vote of the citizens of Vermillion which does not include our rural friends.


Joseph W. Gillen, PE & LS


Apology to city

I would like to apologize to the city of Vermillion for my inconsistency in voting on the Crawford Road issue. On March 20, I voted against the road due to a strong showing of public opinion. At this meeting, I failed to weigh the importance of future needs for our city.

On April 3, I voted in favor of keeping the road on the composite plan because of future needs. The only excuse that I can provide for this inconsistency is a failure of integrity. I will be cautious to not let this happen again.

Thank you,

Nathan J. Adams

Alderman, NW Ward

City of Vermillion

Coaches deserve thanks

To the editor:

I'd like to thank the coaches at the high schools across South Dakota. I think they need more appreciation from everyone for giving their time to help the student athletes excel in all of their different sports, thanks a lot.

Jerrod Freidel


Thanks for support

To the editor:

I would like to thank the baseball players and fans for giving us money to buy new uniforms and hats. I appreciate all the hard work selling the candy bars and helping out with the expenses of playing baseball. I hope to see all the fans out there and cheering on the Vermillion baseball team.


J.R. Moore


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