Letters to Editor

Renaming Track; Flandreau Dam discussion

To the Editor:
Dear Reader,
Spring is back with its familiar sounds and smells of chirping birds, blooming flowers, and track and field athletes’ yells of enthusiasm filling the air. This next Tuesday, April 6, will be our first home track and field meet since the spring of 2018. Because of the ornery South Dakota weather and frustrating Covid pandemic, we have not been able to host a meet until this current spring.
This April 6 is an especially important meet because Flandreau High School is naming the track “Barnes Evans Track” at the same meet which bears the name of these two remarkable coaches, Gus Barnes and the late John Evans.  
Dedication of the track will take place about 6 p.m.
These two men have especially left a positive mark on this community through their past teaching and coaching experiences. Both moving here from out of town dozens of years ago, they put down roots, raised families here, and dutifully served the student athletes of this town in the classroom and on the track. They cared about quality programs in cross country and track and field which resulted in several state team placings, state-runner up, and state championship accomplishments.
Before John Evans passed away, I greatly enjoyed talking with both Gus and John about track and field, picking their brains for wisdom and coaching guidance. These discussions also showed me their heart not only for the sport, but most importantly for the athletes and their families.
We really hope to see you out at our home track meets this year with the Barnes Evans Relays April 6 at 4:00, our junior high invite April 8 at 4:00, the Flandreau Booster Invitational April 24 at 11:00, and the Lake Central Conference meet at 2:00 on May 11.
Please be at the naming of the track this April 6 to honor the inspiring diligence and leadership of Coach Gus Barnes and Coach John Evans. Caring and selfless coaches like these two men have made our town a better place and hopefully we can continue to model their behavior in our community today.
Go Fliers,
Flandreau Head Track and Field Coach Owen Parsley

To the Editor:
Do we really need to remove the dam?
Are we OK with a 3’ drop in the water elevation at the park?
Are we OK with losing our lily pond in the park?
Are we OK with losing our scenic view from the Hwy 13 bridge?
I have listened to the safety concerns.
I do understand, but, in my opinion, removal of the dam is not the answer.
It is time to look how we can improve the safety without removing the dam.
Let’s focus on making our dam area a “go to place” for recreation.
If you have concerns and would like to meet to discuss, please email me.
 [email protected]
Scott Ramsdell

To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to let our city leaders know that I am not in favor of the proposed removal of the Flandreau Dam.
To this point I have been waiting for a public meeting on such a public plan. Since there has not been a public forum on this topic, I have decided I needed to write a letter to let everybody know that I think this is not a project that everybody agrees with…I sure don’t.
The Flandreau Dam has long been overlooked as an asset to Flandreau and the surrounding area. It is time for those who are not in favor of the dam removal to speak up and be heard.
The city has the Flandreau Park (which according to the project engineers say will be negatively affected) as a recreation area for residents but do they have any clue that the dam offers hours of recreation for a group of taxpayers who don’t play ball or picnic or really utilize the Flandreau Park?
Has there been a study done about usage? The fact that the area around the dam is heavily used would surprise a lot of people in our community.
The number of people who use the dam regularly is surprising. Not only Flandreau residents but people from all around the region can be found fishing at the dam. The spring always brings a large number of fishermen from Minnesota to our community. Has the city ever talked or thought about this group of people who utilize the dam? If not, why not? Do they plan on having a public meeting so people like me can voice their opinions? If not, why not?
The engineers say it will improve fishing, but if you talk to people who have fished in areas like Klondike on the Big Sioux where a similar dam was removed, I have. They tell me the fishing suffered greatly and they seldom use the area anymore.
This is being sold as a safety issue. The fact is, that there has only been one fatality in the last many decades as a direct cause of the dam itself. The bottom line is that wherever there is water there is always a danger of people getting into trouble, it isn’t just at the Flandreau dam.
The amount of money the city has already spent on studies and engineers could have gone a long way in cleaning up and developing the area, to say nothing of the proposed amount of removing and replacing the structure. Rest assured by the time anything would happen there the high estimate won’t cover the project.
Wouldn’t the nearly $2 million have been enough to replace the Crescent Street bridge? It seems to me that the public wanted that project completed. I don’t think there is the same interest in taking the “historic” Flandreau dam out, especially those who have property up stream.
I write this letter in hopes that the city reconsiders the idea of removing one of the most used assets it has to offer the residents of the community.
Richard Lewis, Flandreau



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