HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Corrections announced recently the agreement to purchase land just south of Harrisburg for a new men’s state prison. This announcement has stirred up mixed emotions for residents.
Along 278th Street and 477th Avenue sits the future site of a new South Dakota men’s state prison.
Harrisburg Mayor Derick Wenck, says the site is only three and a half miles from the city limits. He shared some concerns with this location.
“Some of the landowners that I’ve talked to south of Harrisburg, they’re worried about their land valuation diminishing because having a prison system located next to the land and not being able to develop the way they would have hoped to in the future,” says Harrisburg Mayor Derick Wenck.
The city of Harrisburg was hoping to make the area less appealing for the prison site by denying a contract for the prison to use the city’s sewer system.
“I mean with or without our sewer system it sounds like they’re going to build no matter what. We just don’t have no contract with the prison to sewer their prison systems,” says Wenck.
However, with the current state of the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, Lincoln County Representative Ernie Otten says they needed to start the process of building a new one.
“So we began the search in the outlying areas. But at that time, we were really concerned about the workforce, being 20 miles, 20 minutes, maybe from Sioux Falls. And so that’s what we were looking for in Lincoln County, Minnehaha County that I was aware of, and then found out that it’s Lincoln County,” says Lincoln County Representative Ernie Otten.
But with the growing city, the Mayor doesn’t want to see anything stunt Harrisburg’s growth.
“We’re doing all we can to see if there’s a way to stop this, so we’ll see what happens,” says Wenck.
“I think overall it’s a pretty good site selection,” says Otten.
Click here for more information on the current condition of the State Penitentiary — which is older than South Dakota’s statehood.