STURGIS, S.D. – Some members of a committee set up to come up with a proposal for a water recreation facility for Sturgis are disappointed in the recent move by the Sturgis City Council to split the Richards property into two plats.
Spokeswoman Allison Creed says she is disappointed and is “very upset about the lack of transparency related to this project.” She says the City Council has not updated The Aquatics Committee, nor the citizens of Sturgis about their activities related to the park.
The council last week split the property that was selected to host the aquatics park into two parcels. Although the city says they are still contemplating some sort of outdoor aquatics venue, Creed says the council has no plans for the land, and without a plan for park development, asked how the council can accurately determine what is best for the citizens of Sturgis.
“I was told to stay positive, and my response is that I have zero trust in the council. For 3 years we have been hearing empty promises, and the lack of transparency is unacceptable,” Creed told KBHB News.
Creed also expressed concerns about the purchasing agreement between The City of Sturgis, and the Richards, saying it will continue to negatively affect the outcome of land development, or any future park development. That agreement stated the city would provide 7 platted lots for the seller’s exclusive use as well as build a road providing access to the lots by the end of 2025. Failure to do so would mean the city having to buy back the seller’s lots.
The Aquatics Committee held fundraisers to raise money for the proposed Lakeside Adventure Park and Creed also wants to know where that money is and where it’s going.
“I also heard that some of the council members wanted to use the money we raised. I want to remind those council members that it is illegal to use funds donated funds raised for one project, and then use those funds for another project,” Creed said.
“I would start an investigation into misappropriation of funds, and I will be initiating that investigation if the funds we raised are used for anything other than a splash pad.”
Sturgis Communications Director Deb Holland says adding future commercial and retail development to the Richards property has been a goal since it was purchased. The proposed water park, in the meantime, came in at a higher cost than what the council had hoped. That cost has been a driving factor in determining what type of aquatic park or splash pad the city could build.
But, Creed says she believes the council used the citizen board, and the idea there would be a park on the property in order to gain citizen support for the purchase of the land. She says the land had sat for sale for numerous years, and another developer could have bought the piece of property to develop commercial property independent of city involvement.
Creed says the council also has not given any explanation as to why they failed to produce a park, nor taken accountability for the failed process, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent.
“In my opinion, the council wasted a lot of money on numerous development ideas to end up with no plan at all.”