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Monday, November 8, 2010

Lake County: Money Isn't Everything?

A ruling from Judge Roberto Lange last week reminds me that our Lake County Commission may be more in tune with my thinking on economic development than I sometimes think. Judge Lange dismissed Ben Elliott's complaint that his rights were violated when the county denied him a permit in 2002 for a 940-head hog confinement operation.

That hog facility would have meant a boost in economic activity for the county. But the commission said some economic gains aren't worth the costs.

Likewise with the new public access area at Lake Madison. The best argument folks opposed to the project could offer was that the county could generate a lot more tax dollars by selling the land for private development of swanky McMansions on some of the last undeveloped lakeshore property. But the county said it has enough money for now, at least enough that we can forego a few dollars of potential tax revenue and protect quality of life in non-monetary ways.

I find such foresight encouraging.

Update 12:43 CST: An eager reader notes that credit for both of the above actions goes to previous commissioners Ron Jorgenson, Shirlee Leighton, Kent Peterson, Craig Johannson and Bert Verhey. The current commission of Chairman Verhey, Scott Pedersen, Chris Giles, Dan Bohl, and Roger Hagemann get credit for sticking with and finalizing the Lake Madison public access plan.


  1. Man Cory, for a while there, I thought we were going to have to change our state slogan to "South Dakota...Great Faces, Smelly Places"

    PS: I judged oral interp this weekend in Belle Fourche. Learned a ton and what a bunch of great kids, from the Hills as well as the Reservation. This proud father saw his daughter get first in Commedy....chip off the ol' block, I must say.

  2. Chris Francis11/08/2010 3:08 PM

    I beieve the new public access on the west side of Lake Madison is just great, and thanks to all those commissioners, both past and current who made it happen. Kudos.

    Now, are there any ideas of how we can further develop it for the public?

    I would personally like to see a 'chautauqua' style development, with maybe a outdoor theatre, a few shelters, a more established dock, trails and wilderness area, all with a 'natural' feel. With its location, which is essentially directly across from the historic chautauqua grounds, this seems like a proper fit and potential use for the site.

    Regardless of how it's developed in the future, it should remain free and open to the public, and remain in the county's trust.

  3. [Kevin! interp in Belle Fourche! I'm glad you enjoyed the experience. Congratulate your daughter for me!]

    Chris, you know what I'd like to see at the poor farm.

  4. Good move on the commissioner's part. Keep that land public and open. Some good ideas, Chris. It doesn't need to be a duplicate of what we've already got.


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