De Smet City Council approves new community center

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

De Smet City Council voted Dec. 4 to accept a $515,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) toward building a $2.1 million community and fitness center near the high school athletic complex.

 

The De Smet Development Corporation plans to begin raising the additional $980,000 that will be needed after the city kicks in another $400,000 for the project.

 

More than two-dozen people attended a special meeting of the city council to learn more about the proposed center and express their concerns or support.

 

Buzz Pierce, president of Lyle Signs, Inc. had already pledged up to $400,000 for the project with the stipulation that construction start by next year.  Pierce’s offer is what spurred the De Smet Development cooperation to apply for the CDBG grant.

 

Another group has pledged $200,000 towards a new state-of the art athletic complex. Todd Wilkinson, one of the people spearheading the athletic complex project, said although the two are separate projects, they are intertwined.

 

De Smet Development Corporation Director Rita Anderson said many of the needs that were identified in a community needs assessment done in 2006 would be fulfilled by the community center.

 

Don Bohn of De Smet was one of the community members  to express concerns about both projects He was concerned that the community and fitness center might duplicate services we already have in town, and about the cost to maintain the building. “Lets not create a monument of good intentions if we can not afford it,” he said.

 

Bill Wilkinson, an advocate for the project, said a lot of people go out of town for things like wedding receptions because there is not a large enough facility in De Smet. The exhibit hall in the community center would hold between 350-450 people and keep people in town for this type of event, he said.

 

Preliminary plans have been drawn up for both projects, but are subject to change depending on the  input the city gets from members of the community.  Todd Wilkinson said he welcomes all ideas. “Don’t feel any part of this is cast in stone,” he said.

 

 

Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

De Smet News

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