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Residents near Spring Creek Golf Course at odds with Game Fish and Parks over expansion

Spring Creek residents at odds with Game Fish and Parks
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 9:37 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Imagine a golf course such as Prairie Green being sold and converted into a campground. Homeowners around the Spring Creek Golf Course say their neighbors could be campers if the Game Fish and Parks Department officials have their way.

Unless you’re out for a Sunday drive, you may not realize there are over 80 houses and 5 homeowners associations surrounding Spring Creek Golf Course near Good Earth State Park. Some homeowners say the level of mistrust started with deeding over land for Good Earth State Park, being told it had no value, only to find out shortly after the GFP received a timber grant for the land for $500,000.

Resident Barb Koopman often waves to the golfers in the summertime.

“We have a hole, a tee box right to the west of us, and a hole right to the north of us, it’s beautiful out here, the wildlife we have,” said Koopman.

When she first heard of a foundation purchasing the golf course to gift the land to the Game Fish and Parks Department for Good Earth State Park, it made sense.

“There was going to be a return back to natural grasses. So we were like, Okay, that’s cool,” said Koopman.

Limited communication became a concern. Some residents believe any meetings were heavily controlled.

“The state GFP had meetings but they split the HOA and there was only two HOA fees involved. There’s five HOA’s out here,” said Koopman.

Plans for the land didn’t seem to match the original intention.

“A concept for the campground. That did not go over well at all,” said Koopman.

The perceived attitude is frustrating.

“Do whatever they want. And that’s a concerning point,” said Koopman.

Phil Keithahn also lives on the golf course.

“GF and P whenever there is a concern that’s raised, it’s dismissed,” said Keithahn.

He and his neighbors have asked about traffic studies, security, and smoke from all the firepits.

“There were no answers except, well that’s why we’re here to listen to what you have to say,” said Keithahn.

Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert says Game Fish and Parks has missed the mark in other areas of the state.

Native American customs may forbid congregating on the land, that already has produced thousands of artifacts, with more still below the surface. The culture indicates the type of artifacts or human remains would result in an unacceptable place to have a campground.

“As much as I support our game and fish department it at the same time they do things that are counterproductive,” said Heinert.

Heinert cites Custer State Park.

“Well, they hired a company, not even from this state to tell our story. You know as Native people in this state, we can tell our story,” said Heinert.

158 signatures are on a document, delivered to the Game Fish and Parks, in hopes of getting their attention.

Neighbors believe that Lake Alvin, Newton Hills, and Palisades would be better options. An expansion of the campground at Palisades is already planned.

“A camping expansion could be at the three campgrounds that are within 20 minutes of the golf course,” said Keithahn.

For now, neighbors near Spring Creek Golf Course say they’re navigating a frustrating situation, with their property values on the line.

“What combination of positives and negatives gives us the best use of that land? And GF and P is not doing that today,” said Keithahn.

Homeowners are connecting with the Lincoln County Commission in the new year to present their concerns, along with possible financial implications. In the meantime, all of the HOA’s are welcoming those in the neighborhood and Spring Creek golfers to get updates. Contact 605-212-7228 for more information.

Good Earth State Park at Blood Run will expand on January 1, 2025, with the acquisition of the Spring Creek Golf course.

We invited members of the Game Fish and Parks Department to provide a statement and did not receive a response. A post on the South Dakota State News website was posted shortly after our story originally aired, inviting public comment.

Previous stories on Good Earth State Park and Spring Creek Golf Course
Good Earth State Park expansion raises concerns

An Archeologist describes how moving more earth at Spring Creek Golf Course would likely unearth more Native American artifacts.

Good Earth State Park expansion raises concerns
Spring Creek to be added to Good Earth State Park in 2025

South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation past president and Blood Run project chairman Jeff Scherschligt said "we're not only preserving history, we're preserving some beautiful land. Ultimately, when you're adding this to the park, for good, forever, we just made a purchase that we know is going to be part of South Dakota's resources for thousands...forever."

The charity golf tournament is this weekend.

Link for past story: https://www.dakotanewsnow.com/2021/10/28/good-earth-state-park-expansion-raises-concerns/

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