By Dick Kettlewell
HOT SPRINGS – At its regular meeting held this past Monday, Feb. 5, the Hot Springs City Council viewed a sideshow presentation overviewing the final Airport Master Plan, which helps lay the groundwork for possible improvements to take place at the Hot Springs Municipal Airport over the next 5, 10, and 20-plus year time spans as needs change.
Presenting the plan were two representatives from Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH), an engineering consulting firm with its corporate offices based in St. Paul, Minn., that, among other things, specializes in airport planning, design and construction. SEH employs about 800 people nationwide, including engineers, scientists, architects, etc. and maintains offices throughout many midwestern cities and states including Sioux Falls.
Outlining the SEH plan was lead aviation and environmental planner Kaci Nowicki, who presented slides and maps of the Hot Springs Airport which showed some recent improvements that have been made – including updates to the taxiway and the construction of new hangar space – as well as some potential improvements and expansions which may be needed in the future. Nowicki said, in order for the city to make any improvements to the airport, those things must first be part of the Airport Master Plan in order to qualify for federal funding.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants municipalities like Hot Springs an annual entitlement of $150,000 as part of its Airport Improvement Program, which is designed to cover 90 percent of the costs of most all improvements. The city and the state are then responsible for picking up the other 10 percent, which each paying 5 percent. Nowicki said the federal funding does not have to be used each year, but can be banked for later use for larger projects. Federal funding in addition to the annual $150,000 entitlement can also be applied for to cover the cost of specific projects.
Airport Manager Ed Jensen was also present at the meeting. While no action was taken in regards to the informational presentation by the SEH representatives, it was indicated by both Jensen and Hot Springs Mayor George Kotti that one of the needs at the airport is the construction of additional hangars, as there is currently a waiting list for space.
Also introduced and voted on were several items of New Business, that included a Request For Proposals (RFP) from the Miss South Dakota Scholarship Program. Recently the organizing body of the Miss South Dakota pageant sent out an RFP to several communities across the state, in search of a new home for the event, which has been held in Hot Springs for the past 71 years.
Mayor Kotti summarized the basis of the RFP and asked the council if they had a desire to send back a proposal on behalf of the city to host the event. He said included in the list of needs by the Miss South Dakota Foundation was a way for electronic ticketing and several complementary motel rooms and meals, to name of few of the items.
After some additional discussion and input from Finance Officer Misty Summers-Walton – who wanted the city to continue to support the pageant as it had in past year, but did not recommend the city get involved in a competitive bid process in order to continue to host the event – the council unanimously approved a motion to “not act on the request for proposals.”
Eleven other new items were approved by the Council including an agreement that grants use of the Southern Hills Golf Course to the SDHSAA for the 2020 Boys’ State “A” Golf Tournament on Oct. 5-6, 2020. A management fee of $300 will be paid to the host school to cover workers as they are needed for the event.
The SDHSAA also agrees to pay the Southern Hills Golf Course a greens fee of $1800 that covers cart rental as well.
Other items of new business included:
• Approving to renew Municipal Operating Agreements for Alcoholic Beverage license holders for 2018.
• Approving to re-appoint Mina Patel and Steve Simunek to the Business Improvement District-1 Board for three year terms(2018-2021).
• Authorizing the Mayor and Finance Officer to execute a lease to own agreement with Yamaha Golf & Utility of Burnside, Minn., for 40 2018 Yamaha Drive 2-Carb Gas Golf Carts to be used at the Southern Hills Golf Course.
• Surplusing the currently used 50 2001 Yamaha Golf Carts from the Southern Hills Golf Course.
Earlier in the meeting, the council heard a quarterly report from the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Olivia Mears which updated the council and mayor on a number Chamber activities, many of which help encourage local buying and shopping, including the recent HO HO HO campaign, a Christmas shopping program that implemented this past season. She also encouraged getting more signage up on I-90 about Hot Springs and its events, especially Fourth of July activities. Mayor Kotti was very pleased with her report.
Also earlier in the meeting, a Public Hearing was held regarding Changing Seasons Floral’s application for an On/Off Sale Malt Beverage and S.D. Win License. Owner Richelle Tanner said their goal with the license is to be able to sell bottle of wine when someone also purchases flowers, and to also be able to participate in possible wine tasting events, including the Wine Walk hosted by the Chamber each spring. Their application was unanimously approved.
Finally, at the end of the meeting, committee reports finished with the Summers-Walton’s Finance Officer’s Report on the upcoming municipal election which will include the Mayor’s seat and four City Council positions. She said nominating petitions will be available beginning March 1, with the deadline to submit with the required number of signatures on March 27.
Kim Barbieri’s City Administrator’s report included an update on the recent “Puppy Plunge” event held at Evans Plunge just prior to its annual closing for repairs and maintenance. She said the event was a huge success and brought in over 40 dogs and their owners to enjoy the indoor pool. She said it created a lot of buzz about the facility on Facebook and would likely be something they plan again in the future.