City, County Discuss Flooding Issues

Yankton Public Works Director Adam Haberman discusses the state of various infrastructure projects in the Yankton area during a Yankton City/County Planning Committee meeting Thursday morning. 

The city and county are continuing to move forward on flood recovery.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Yankton City/County Planning Committee, officials gave brief updates on where they are with regard to flood recovery.

Yankton Community & Economic Director Dave Mingo said the city has been assigned Daniel Meyer of Sioux Falls as its FEMA contact.

“We’ve had a couple of phone calls with him and we have our scoping meeting on (Aug. 26). We have what’s estimated at around $18 million of damage in the corporate limits. We’re going to be working through what of that is eligible for public assistance money in the short term.”

He added that city officials will be working hard in the coming months to determine how to approach project funding.

“We’ll be trying to determine what’s eligible for mitigation money,” he said. “There’s two different pools of mitigation money that will be available with deadlines in December and in March. There’s going to be a quick juggling act figuring out what’s public assistance and what’s pre-disaster mitigation on our part.”

Mingo said there may be some additional opportunities for funding wastewater plant issues, and that the city will be exploring how to best approach it.

“At the wastewater plant — and other wastewater-related infrastructure — (we have) the opportunity to have some EDA (U.S. Economic Development Administration) money coming in,” he said. “We don’t want to do something with FEMA money that we can use EDA money for, and we don’t want to do something with EDA money that we can use FEMA money for, depending on the type of project and the percentage grant available. We’ll be fast and furiously juggling all of that in the next four months.”

Yankton County Commission chairman Dan Klimisch said the county is also exploring disaster relief options.

“We’re working on it the same as the city is,” Klimisch said. “It’s kind of frustrating dealing with the process, but we’re moving forward.”

He said that the bulk of the disaster relief is being dealt with by Emergency Management Director Paul Scherschligt and Highway Superintendent Mike Sedlacek.

Officials also discussed ongoing infrastructure projects in the city.

Yankton Public Works Director Adam Haberman said the 21st St. reconstruction project is entering into its final phases.

“Roadway pavement is complete between Broadway Ave. and Douglas Ave.,” Haberman said. “The Douglas intersection, they have half of that intersection poured. They’re hoping to complete the other half (Thursday) if the weather allows. They’ll be getting the street prepared to allow the Riverboat Days parade through there as normal.”

The intersection will be closed again following the parade Saturday in order to complete work.

“The western part of the project in front of Stewart School will be open for school,” Haberman said. “They’ll have full access from 21st St.”

Haberman also gave updates on two major railroad crossing projects occurring in Yankton along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF).

“BNSF started that work (on 15th St.) on Monday,” he said. “They completed their portion of the crossing replacement (Wednesday) and street department are in the process of patching the approaches to the rail crossing. They should get that complete (Thursday) if the weather allows and that will be opened back up.”

He said the railroad will replace the signals and install crossing gates at a later date and may necessitate another short closure.

“(Wednesday) they mobilized to West City Limits Road and closed that crossing for replacing the rail crossing,” he said. “They’re working diligently. I’m guessing they may have their work complete (Friday), then the street crews will mobilize.”

Haberman said since the approaches on the West City Limits Road crossing are concrete, it could be a couple of weeks before the stretch of road is reopened. The new signals have been installed, however.

He said the railroad has had to contend with a number of factors before they were able to get to Yankton’s projects.

“As everybody else has been experiencing this year with weather, flooding and what-not, they have their own projects that they’re dealing with,” he said. “They were actually going to come two weeks ago and they had a derailment up north somewhere that they had to deal with.”

The next City/County Planning Committee meeting is tentatively set for Oct. 24.

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