Knife River Corp. Offers $65 Million to purchase fairgrounds

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Knife River made a $65 million offer to Minnehaha County to purchase the W-H. Lyon Fair Grounds today.

It’s long been talked about, Knife River buying the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds to expand the quarry, but it’s not that simple.

Minnehaha County Commissioner, Cindy Heiberger says because the land was gifted, selling would be complicated.

“The fairgrounds are not for sale; the fairgrounds are under a deed and in order to sell that we would have to go to court to even have permission to sell that,” said Cindy Heiberger, Minnehaha County commissioner.

She says it’s not even clear if the County has the right to agree to a buyout.

“The commission can only sell the property under South Dakota state of high law if it’s determined there is no longer necessary, useful, or suitable for the purpose for which it was required,” said Heiberger.

That $65 million offer came this morning when Knife River Sioux Falls President Clark Meyer made a pitch to purchase the land during the public comment portion of the County Commission meeting.

Meyer knows the process could be difficult but believes there is a way.

In a statement to Dakota News Now he clarified how: referencing a bill passed in 2005 and South Dakota Codified Law.

“Knife River believes that a state bill passed in 2005 and is now SD Codified Law 43-25-18 though 43-25-18.5 outlines the process that, if followed, would allow the county to sell this property,” said Knife River Sioux Falls President Clark Meyer.

Heiberger counters, saying this would take years.

“If it was possible, it would be years because it would have to go through the court because right now, we are under the restrictions of what is in that deed and what is set forth in resolutions that were put forth by the family,” said Heiberger.

Knife River hopes the offer made today will quote

“Kickstart the conversation and have the task force study all options including relocating the fair and leveraging the largest asset the current fairgrounds have, which is the aggregate reserves it allegedly sits on,” said Meyer.

Meyer also made it clear that Knife River is committed to the future of the Sioux Empire Fair and honoring the legacy of the Lyon family.

The Minnehaha County Commision will be meeting again to review and discuss the contract in which they will be bringing forward an economic and marketing analysis.

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