city hall meeting - build springs

Over fifty people attended Monday’s City of Wessington Springs council meeting in support of the Springs Rec Center project.   

Members of the Build Springs board, along with area residents, business owners and supporters of the Springs Rec Center asked the city council Monday night to pass a resolution in support of its work and efforts to raise money for the construction of the project. 

“It’s clear we have a community that cares,” began Build Springs board member Julie Bruckner, gesturing to the amount of people at the meeting, totaling over 50. “We are not asking for any dollars from city council, we are just asking for support in the way of a simple statement to help improve and grow our community and be the best it can be.”

Wessington Springs High School Principal and Athletic Director Jason Kolousek said that the project means more than simply a “second gymnasium” to the community.

“This project is an obvious benefit for our community and students. And the economic impact is important for everyone,” Kolousek said. 

Kolousek pointed out that with the additional facility, more tournaments could be held, which translates into more people in town needing to eat, purchase gas and other goods while in the area. 

Local businessman Brian Bergeleen said that he is “pretty excited” at the prospect and the economic value it could bring Wessington Springs.  “I hope that you’re all supporting the idea and putting a blessing on this resolution,” he said to the council. “I hope you can see it.”

The council expressed concerns to the Build Springs board about a crossover when it comes to grant applications aimed to help fund the city’s pool renovation project.

“We understand at this time your priority is the pool and that competition for grants is a concern,” Bruckner said. The Build Springs board then presented a signed letter to the council stating that the fundraising arm for the Springs Rec Center would not apply to the same grants for which  the city’s pool task force is applying.   

Mayor Kathy Voorhees then asked of City Attorney Gary Blue, “Is it this council’s responsibility to choose between these two projects by either voting for or against this resolution? We’re kind of in a position here that  we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t? What exactly are we voting for?” 

Blue responded, “As a council, if you vote to not support the rec center, it could draw a line and end up hurting the pool. We don’t need to divide our town any more.” 

Build Springs board member Scott Kolousek reiterated at the closing of the presentation that by approving the resolution,  “it won’t cost the city a dime” and instead, the construction of the rec center would bring in revenue to the city.

The council voted 4-2 to approve the resolution with an added provision about no grant overlap between the fundraising arms of the pool and rec center projects. 

On Tuesday, the Build Springs board delivered a similar presentation to the Jerauld County commissioners, which resulted in a vote passing the resolution on the county level 3-1.