FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A public forum that was held yesterday on a proposed riverside project for Fort Pierre drew a good crowd last night, as supporters and opponents discussed the merits and concerns of the $16 million dollar development. Mark and Glennis Zarecky have been planning Riverwalk Landing since about the time they bought the first piece of property for the development in 2006. The project would include a marina, a restaurant and convention center, marina operations building and commercial and retail shops. More than 100 people filled the Fort Pierre Senior Center for Tuesday’s forum. In opening comments, Glennis Zarecky told attendees that the project would create as many as 100 jobs and countless construction jobs while the project is built over a three year period. She showed a powerpoint presentation that showed drawings of some of the buildings that would be part of the project, and listed various numbers that demonstrated what the project would mean in sales tax revenue and property tax revenue for the city, county and school district. After Tuesday’s hearing, she said she believes the presentation helps put the project in perspective for many.
Diane London, who owns and operates Perkins Restaurant, which is near where the project would be built, said she was behind referring certain elements of the project to voters because she is concerned that city bylaws and ordinances are not being followed. She says she doesn’t have concerns about new development; she is concerned that city rules are being overlooked for the project.
Fort Pierre voters will go to the polls next Tuesday to decide whether to approve an ordinance change made by the city council that impacts the project; to add boats to rules that allow vehicle sales, service or storage.
Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball says last night’s forum gave people a chance to ask questions of both sides; and for project organizers and opponents to air their views.
Questions were asked, ranging from who is financially backing the project-which was answered by Glennis Zarecky who said they are the only investors; to why the route of a walking trail along the river would have to change if the project is built.
A court hearing will be held this afternoon in Fort Pierre to determine whether or not it was proper for the city council to deny referral petitions on a deferred development fee and zoning changes for the project. That hearing will begin at 1:30 p.m.
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