Sioux Falls homeowners continue to battle city over gravel road

Sioux Falls homeowners continue to fight city over gravel road.
Sioux Falls homeowners continue to fight city over gravel road.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The city of Sioux Falls is planning to begin work on a gravel road in northeast Sioux Falls, and it’s causing concerns for those who live in the area.

Residents are calling for the road to be paved and are worried about traffic from businesses nearby. They are also upset over the lack of communication from the city before they began the process.

Since Dakota News Now made its initial report about the issue, the city agreed to a meeting with two residents to discuss the project.

Chester DeYoung and Jeff Maroon are the residents who called for that meeting. While their concerns have now been heard, the city is holding firm with its plans.

“I want the road constructed right, do it right the first time,” DeYoung said.

Maroon took it one step further, saying the city shouldn’t open the road at all.

“None of the neighbors actually know what is (happening), I didn’t know, until last Friday, about any of this going on,” Maroon said.

Chester lives on Grant Street, and Jeff, just a few blocks away on Taylor Street.

Their main concern about this new, through street is the amount of traffic that would flow into the neighborhood.

“How much traffic are they going to throw at Taylor Street, that really can’t handle it?” DeYoung said.

There is already recreational and commercial property nearby, along with an apartment complex going up.

“In the old neighborhood there is not sidewalks, so we have people walking the streets,” Maroon said.

DeYoung added, “We have a public safety issue by putting the street through, and once they put the gravel road in, there is no going back.”

But, with development happening in that area, the city says not opening up Grant Street creates its own public safety issue.

“Having that street section allowed to pass through will provide better access for emergency services to that neighborhood, allow for a more efficient plowing of the streets, and maintenance of those streets,” Andy Berg, Sioux Falls City Engineer, said.

The street is an existing public right of way, which gives the city the right to finish it, and they opted for gravel because the cost to pave the road would fall on the adjacent property owners.

In addition, the city claims Grant Street would be a secondary route, and a majority of traffic would enter and exit the area onto Arrowhead Parkway.

“Certainly, the intention would not be that all of those users would have to go through that neighborhood as the primary access to those facilities,” Berg said.

DeYoung understands the city’s position but doesn’t believe the situation has been handled correctly.

“The city had an explanation for everything, I still feel that their explanation is coming across that we’re going to do whatever we want to do,” DeYoung said. “I think that’s wrong, but it’s tough to fight city hall.”

Ultimately, the city says they intend to move forward with their plans, and that adjacent property owners were notified about the road. However, DeYoung and Maroon tell Dakota News Now that their next steps will be to petition the project and contact City Council.

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