Rec path projects continue in Spearfish

The city of Spearfish continues to work to add to its rec path system. A conception design proposal was approved July 2 for the Exit 8 area, as well as a request for the city to apply for a $400,000 grant for rec path additions in the Green Acres/Exit 14 area. Pioneer photo by Kaija Swisher

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SPEARFISH — The city of Spearfish is keeping its eye on the prize for future rec paths.

The city council July 2 unanimously approved two separate agenda items focused on moving forward with sections of rec path in the Exit 8 and 14 areas.

The first was a request to approve a proposal from FMG Engineering for consulting work involving a feasibility study for a shared used community path to link the Exit 8 development area to the existing rec path system at a cost not to exceed $30,715.

City Engineer Kyle Mathis Tuesday provided a general summary of the services that the city requested, which stated that the city “seeks to design, fund and construct a community path to provide recreational space for walkers, runners, and cyclists; to provide walkable and bikeable routes connecting schools, parks and other recreational facilities to the new growth areas around Exit 8, located generally northwest of the Spearfish downtown area.”

The purposes of the feasibility study for the shared use path include: Evaluating up to two proposed routes and their design features for a community path; preparing conceptual designs with cost estimates for the two route options and associated work; advising on subsequent grant funding steps; working in conjunction with the city to meet with landowners and/or governmental entities to discuss possible acquisition of easements, permits, agreements and/or land necessary for construction; and providing the city council with route feasibility information used to select which route best fits the needs of our community.

Mathis explained that the goal of the study is to achieve a level of conceptual design and project specification that will allow the city, upon selection of the specific route, to pursue grant funding to assist with subsequent project costs and to contract for final design, bidding, and construction phase services. 

Funding for the study would come from second penny and spectator rec funds.

He added that the review committee reviewed two proposals on June 22.

The city had included a request for proposals for a Green Acres subdivision feasibility study that would link Roughlock Lane to the Exit 14 path, with a proposal not to exceed $20,233 submitted, but staff recommended denying the proposal, which the council unanimously did after hearing staff explain that the route evaluation is pretty straightforward, with plans for future grant applications able to be prepared in-house, with adequate notice.

The second item pertaining to rec paths that was unanimously approved by the council was the request to submit a letter of intent to apply for a Transportation Alternative (TA) grant through the South Dakota Department of Transportation for up to $400,000 in grant funding, which, if approved, would require the city to provide an 18.05 percent match.

Parks and Recreation Director Perry Mader explained that the grant funds would be used for rec paths in the Green Acres/Exit 14 area.

According to the SDDOT website, the TA grant program uses federal transporation funds, designated by Congress, for specific activities that “enhance the intermodal transportation system and provide safe alternative transportation options.” Letters of intent are due July 16, with on-site meetings with applicants scheduled prior to Aug. 17. Grant applications are due Oct. 1 for 2019 projects.

The website states that approximately $2.1 million is available through the grant program, administered through the SDDOT Office of Project Development.

Mayor Dana Boke asked whether the 18.05 percent local match requirement was currently included in the department’s 2019 budget, and Mader said that it was. 

The city’s 2019 budget has not yet been formally approved.

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