131st Ave and Cardinal Place Road Project

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 1, 2014

CONTACT: Jerry Derr at 605-720-1625 

131st Ave and Cardinal Place Road Project 

Sturgis, SD - Recent news articles regarding the Ft. Meade Connector highway east of Sturgis have featured an opponent of the road stating that the county has no plans to improve Cardinal Place or Pleasant Valley Road. Those statements are incorrect.  The commission has unanimously voted to expend money to get cost estimates for improvement of the entire route to standards which would accommodate truck traffic.  The design work the commission has authorized will also include estimates for a new intersection at Pleasant Valley Road and Cardinal Place in which the traffic on the newly-constructed road would not have a stop sign.  The commission has approved a preliminary alignment of the road but has not adopted a final alignment or design for the road.  

"Right now, we're taking input from engineers and taxpayers and landowners about how the road should look and the precise route," said Commission Chair Alan Aker.  "The commission is sensitive to how the road will affect homeowners on Cardinal Place and is open to ideas about how to minimize the impact on them.  However, I don't think the commission is interested in a route which entirely bypasses Cardinal Place.  We've studied the route ourselves, and we've already paid for professional engineering.  Everything we've seen tells us the best place for the road is the section line right-of-way we already have at Cardinal Place.  It's the shortest route, it's the route which maximizes economic development, it's the least-steep route, it's the easiest to maintain, it's the cheapest to build, and it's the safest."

Aker also challenged the allegation that the road will destroy the residential nature of the neighborhood. "These are fairly large lots, and with the curves we'll have in the road, this will not be a high-speed part of the road.  It won't be like having an interstate highway right out the front door of a quarter-acre lot in a town.  Some people like being on a major paved road, and some don't.  But I have no doubt that these lots will hold their value after the road is built.  We have other major, paved, connecting roads in the county which have high-value residences along them, including New Underwood Road, Sturgis Road, and Elk Creek Road.  One thing we know for sure about this road is that it will be one of the first ones plowed after a snowstorm, because our county shop is on the north end of it." 

Aker also disputed that the road is being built to accommodate the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. "Our commission has consistently pursued economic development in the county.  We need growth. You can see that in the 5-year property tax break we offer to new construction of businesses and ag structures.  You can see that in other highways we're in the process of paving, such as Elk Vale Road. You can see that in our building permit fees, which are among the lowest in the area.  You can see that in our platting requirements, which were designed to minimize costs for developers.  Growth is the best way we have of lowering the tax burden on our ag landowners and our homeowners.  On top of that, Ft. Meade officials have been very clear that they need another route to the Veteran's Hospital.  If we do nothing, and lose that hospital in the future, it will be an economic calamity for Meade County and Sturgis.  I haven't heard a single one of the five commissioners say they want to build the road for the Rally." 

The Meade County Commission will take public comments on the project tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Union Center Community Center and again on December 10 at 1 p. m. in the Erskine County Office Building in Sturgis.

For further questions, please contact your county commissioners at: 

Alan Aker: 390.6515

Bob Heidgerken: 484.2636

Galen Niederwerder: 754.6194

Linda Rausch: 391.2136

Bob Bertolotto: 490.1500