S.D. Regional Jail Project Applies for FEMA Approval

PIERRE, S.D. – A report from the Federal Emergency Management Administration has stalled a regional jail project, but a new solution may get construction back on track.

Part of the selected prison site, near the Pierre police station and the women’s prison, lies in the 100-year flood plain, according to FEMA. To prevent damage from potential flooding, FEMA is requiring that a drainage ditch be dug, but in order to dig it, critical utility lines would have to be moved. The city will not issue a building permit unless the project complies with FEMA regulations.

Rather than complete the ditch before starting construction on the rest of the jail, county commissioners plan to apply to FEMA for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision, which will demonstrate that the project will eventually dig the required ditch. If FEMA accepts the letter, the city can issue a building permit and construction can proceed, with bids being opened in November or December.

The delays may mean that the jail project, originally expected to cost $7 million, may instead cost $8 million.

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