Total cost of Governor’s Mansion fence $462,000; cost to taxpayers unclear

Governor's Mansion in Pierre, file photo
Governor's Mansion in Pierre, file photo(KSFY)
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 4:57 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The contract to build a security fence around the South Dakota Governor’s Mansion in Pierre has been made public, though the exact cost to the state is still unknown.

The total amount of the contract to construct the fence is $462,000, according to Open.SD, the state government’s transparency website. The contract was awarded to Dakota First Enterprises, a Pierre-based construction firm.

Gov. Kristi Noem’s office said back in August that private donors had stepped up to pay for a “substantial portion” of the fence. However, on Thursday, spokesperson Ian Fury declined to specify what percentage was covered by private donations, and what portion was paid for by taxpayers.

When asked via email what portion was paid for by private donors, Fury replied “As previously stated, private donations are covering a substantial portion of that cost.”

The idea for a security fence at the Governor’s Mansion was first discussed in 2019 following recommendations from public safety officials, though the project did not come to fruition until this summer. In an email to legislators last month, Noem’s Policy Director Maggie Seidel explained the decision to move forward with the project.

“It’s no secret that a few individuals don’t like some of the decisions the Governor has made on behalf of the people of South Dakota during this pandemic and otherwise,” Seidel said. “In America, we debate issues; we don’t turn to violence. But it only takes one, and per the Governor’s security team, putting up a fence around the residence is critical at this time.”

The fence is part of a larger project to improve security throughout the Capitol Complex in Pierre.

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