State pursues additional land exchange

HURON – The north half of the former cement plant property at Seventh Street and Nevada Avenue Southwest and land in Hand County are components of a final land exchange involving property in Huron as proposed by School and Public Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner.
Last fall, the paperwork was approved so the state could trade 58.5 acres of public lands it owned in Hand and Spink counties for 7.5 acres of private property listed for sale in Huron not far from the state fairgrounds.
The land in Huron was the former Huron University practice football field along Ninth Street Southwest and the south half of the former cement plant property at Ninth Street and Nevada Avenue Southwest.
Brunner now wants to swap the 2.8 acres that make up the north half of the former cement plant site that is for sale for $48,619 for 30 acres of state trust land valued at $60,000 in Hand County.
Hearings on the proposal are set for May 2, first at 10 a.m. at the Hand County Courthouse and then at 1 p.m. at the Beadle County Courthouse. Each hearing will be in the respective commission rooms.
Brunner said the land in Hand County is part of the same piece of property involved in last fall’s exchange.
“The land has poor access down a section line,” he said. “It is only partially fenced and hasn’t received any competitive bidding when put up for lease.
“The adjoining landowner (the Dale Hargens family) is the only one who bids to lease it and will become the owner through providing the cash,” Brunner said.
The Hargens will pay $11,381 to the state and $48,619 to the seller of the Huron property (Larry and Judy Coyle) in exchange for the 30 acres of state land in Hand County which has an appraised value of $60,000.
Brunner said the state will own the land in Huron and the cash will go into the School and Public Lands Education Trust Fund.
The 30 acres in Hand County leases for $367.50 per year and the 2.8 acres in Huron the state will acquire will be leased by the Department of Agriculture for $800, he said.
“School and Public Lands will get a higher return on renting the Huron land while also being able to provide the State Fair long-term stability for using rented land,” he said.
The former football field and cement plant property has been ideal for parking livestock and carnival trailers during the State Fair because of its proximity to the fairgrounds.
With a long-term lease, the State Fair can make improvements and make use of the property to park trailers for off-season events.
Had the properties been sold to others, that could have changed. It would also have likely been difficult for the State Fair to find 7.5 acres close to the fairgrounds to park trailers, Brunner said.
The property taxes on the Huron properties involved in last year’s exchange and this latest swap have totaled just under $2,200 a year, according to the Beadle County Treasurer’s Office.
“After this exchange, we will have acquired the land the State Fair was using under a lease,” Brunner said.
“This 2.81 acres will be added to the 7.54 acres acquired last winter and the 5.2 acres acquired around 20 years ago,” he said.
“The Office of School and Public Lands will now own a total of 15.55 acres of the fairgrounds that will be leased to the State Fair with the rental income going to support South Dakota schools. We don’t have any additional plans for exchanges or acquisitions in Huron after this exchange is complete.”
Gov. Dennis Daugaard will have to sign off on the transaction after the public hearings.

More In News