Community Games are coming to Brookings, announced Jacob Meshke, assistant to the city manager, at the Brookings City Council meeting Tuesday.

The event is set for June 26-28 and registration packets are available on the city website, at http://cityofbrookings.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2792.

Meshke covered a number of topics in his Brookings Progress Report. 

The council this week authorized the city manager to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Dakota Department of Transportation so the DOT can help the city meet the deadlines for the BUILD grant to construct the 20th Street South-Interstate 29 interchange. 

Meshke said the project was in early stages. Requests for proposals for engineering services are due Thursday. They will include an interstate justification report, environmental review, and right-of-way acquisition and design. Public meetings will be announced as they are set up.

22nd Avenue 

Construction on 22nd Avenue is nearing completion, Meshke said.

The traffic signal at the Olwien intersection has been installed.

“It was back-ordered and took a little longer than we anticipated to get here, but it is up and functioning,” Meshke said.

There is a camera to trigger the signal system.

“(City Engineer) Jackie (Lanning) assured me it does not do any speed enforcement or anything like that,” Meshke said. 

The next phase of the project is budgeted for 2023 and will include construction between Eastbrook Drive and 12th Street South.

Get outdoors

There’s fun to be had at Dakota Nature Park, Meshke reminded folks. There are 3.5 miles of trails that have been groomed by the Parks, Rec & Forestry Department for cross country skiing. 

Skis can be rented at the South Dakota State University Wellness Center, and snowshoes are available for rent at the Nature Park, Meshke said.

Community Games 

Dusty Rodiek, director of PR&F, has been working on the Community Games, Meshke said. It is a partnership between Parks, Rec & Forestry and Brookings Health.

It is set for June 26-28. Registration packets are available at http://cityofbrookings.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2792, and at the Parks, Rec & Forestry Department office and at Brookings Health. 

“This is a team event,” Meshke said, and there will be approximately 20 events/games, including pickleball, disc golf, kickball, and obstacle/agility course. 

“The purpose of the games is really to encourage fitness, community spirit, teamwork, socialization and most importantly fun,” Meshke said. “I think this will be something great for the community and hopefully many folks at home (Tuesday) will want to put a team together.”

Bragging on firefighters

Meshke gave credit to the Brookings Fire Department personnel’s participation rate.

“Their total participation rate is based on total calls, meeting nights and work and training nights,” Meshke said.

There are three paid staff members of the BFD and 45 volunteers.

A total of 22 members achieved an 80% or higher participation and the department as a whole averaged about 78%, Meshke said.

“There is a requirement that they meet 51% to stay on the department. I think Chief (Darrell) Hartmann told me our lowest participant was around 70%, so a very dedicated group of volunteer firefighters and we should all be very proud of the service that they provide to the community,” Meshke said.

Website update

The website has “gotten a bit of an update,” Meshke said, adding the project was headed by Chelsie Bakken, public information officer.

The update was done to make the website more mobile friendly.

“Before, we used to have a mobile app that just mirrored the website because the website wasn’t mobile friendly,” Meshke said.

The mobile app has been discontinued which has resulted in some savings, he said. 

The new website follows Americans with Disabilities Act recommended guidelines and has necessary security updates, he said.

“It’s been a great project,” Meshke said.

Councilor Patty Bacon pointed out some people were used to just touching apps and getting information. For them, what was the quickest way to do the updated website on a mobile device? 

“You can go online and you can actually bookmark that and save it as an icon to your home screen,” Meshke said. “It’ll look like an app, it’ll feel like an app, but all it’s doing is actually taking you right to that website.”

Notifications

One thing the new website helps with is getting the word out about notifications, like parking bans, Meshke said.

During the most recent snow event and parking ban, there were 122 vehicles ticketed and towed, he said.

“Which is actually down from two events last year,” Meshke said.

In January 2019, there were 157 vehicles ticketed and towed; and in February 2019, there were 225 vehicles ticketed and towed.

“One of the things that we attribute that to is the increase (in) sign-ups for the notifications through the websites,” Meshke said. 

People can sign up for text or email alerts for parking bans. 

“In January, since the website went live, we had about 150, or a little over, sign-ups. Looking back with historical data, we average about half that,” Meshke said.

More people signing up to get alerts and total tickets-and-tows going down “is great for everyone,” he said.

Police

It was late getting here, but the Brookings Police Department has gotten a 2019 Interceptor Utility vehicle that was part of the 2019 capital project. The late arrival was because of delays at the production plant, Meshke said. 

There are two more on order as part of the 2020 budget, with delivery expected in April or May, Meshke said.

“The two that we are receiving this year are actually gonna be the first hybrids in the police fleet,” he said.

The new vehicles are expected to reduce fuel consumption and extend the engine life, Meshke said.

“Nice to have those additions to the police fleet,” he said.

Frost Fest

Frost Fest is set from Feb. 13-16 and is hosted by the Chamber and Visitors Bureau and includes the Swiftel Center, he said.

“Part of Frost Fest is a Winter Extravaganza,” Meshke said.

The Winter Extravaganza will be at the Swiftel Center from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 15-16.

There will be a number of inflatables for kids age 3 and older. 

“There will also be glow-in-the-dark dodgeball and obstacle courses for the older kids,” Meshke said.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club.

More information on Frost Fest can be found at visitbrookingssd.com online.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at jgreiner@brookingsregister.com.

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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