No more steps in the River

So I guess the city council is about to debate expanding the River Greenway. The steps into the River came up again. Please, we don’t need this expensive, Roman like structure to continue along the river. This stupid design was cooked up by Jeff S. Cherapa and Mayor Munson in some middle of the night, backroom deal in which Smilin’ Dave promised all kinds of stuff to Jeff (in which he got – because he threatened to sue if he didn’t).

But let’s face it, the steps into the river are not only expensive, they look ridiculous, are not environmentally friendly, are unsafe and do NOTHING to clean up the river.

Trust me, this wasn’t the first time I have brought this up, when they were being originally proposed I said it was stupid.


Well not only would you save millions, it would look better and help with runoff if you designed it differently. My idea then, and now has not changed. You line the banks with natural/native, organic flowers and plants that help the runoff. You widen the bike trail, and you put in multiple mini-parks with benches and more natural landscaping. Not only would it look a 1oox better, it is environmentally friendly and saves millions in concrete expenses. On top of that the flowers along the banks act as a natural barrier to the very toxic waters, which helps safety.

The geese also need to be driven away using air cannons to force them to nest elsewhere. I have often thought spending over $10 million on a river greenway that is covered in goose sh*t really misses the mark. From Falls Park all the way to Cliff Avenue the geese nest and cover the trail in crap. The noise from the air cannons annoys them and gets them to move without killing them or hurting them.

I have also said that signs about the toxicity of the river need to be put up at Falls Park and spots where people might want to take a dip along the greenway. A bright yellow or red sign with a skull and crossbones poison symbol would do the trick. I have often thought if you made people aware of the high levels of E-Coli in the river, they would not go in there. People, it is like swimming in your toilet after you dropped one. Stop doing it!

So please. Let’s use fiscal smarts, environmental smarts and safety knowledge to expand the River Greenway and not steps into a river a couple of clowns cooked up in the basement of city hall.


#1 Warren Phear on 08.12.18 at 10:25 pm

Where is the money coming from for this? The last phase was about 100 yards of riverbank on the east bank south of 8th street. That cost about $38,000 a yard. More importantly. Why?

#2 WRONG on 08.13.18 at 8:20 am

I’m not going to sit here and say the Big Sioux is clean. However, telling people that swimming in the river is like swimming in a toilet full of poo poo is just plain WRONG. When was the last time you’ve heard of people getting sick from swimming or doing any recreational activity in the river? Putting up “Toxic” signs is an overreaction and would provide a false narrative to tourists who don’t know better. Good call on the geese though. It has gotten so bad they have started to ruin the fun of biking and running on the trails.

#3 D@ily Spin on 08.13.18 at 9:33 am

I agree, no more steps. It’s expensive and arrogant. I disagree with the cannons. They would ruin the tranquility and pose stress for other wildlife, people, and dogs. Homeless people use some of the area at night because the city has no shelter or sympathy. Perhaps there’s another way to drive off some of the geese. They are part of the river greenway experience but they do get out of control.

#4 anonymous on 08.13.18 at 9:34 am

To support your argument for less concrete along the river, one of the reasons the 1.97m settlement from Morrell’s was diverted from improving water quality to Phase II of the greenway project was the amount of bedrock they did not anticipate?!! having to deal with along this section of the river. Consequently, there was a cost-overrun in Phase II (although, the Parks Director will continue to deny this to this day).

Why are we proceeding with Phase III of this project when sales tax revenues are down and there are so many other pressing infrastructure needs in our city?

#5 l3wis on 08.13.18 at 12:22 pm

Wrong, the Sioux is the 13th most polluted waterway in the US. With the high levels of E-coli, if you were in the water and it got into your mouth or open sores in your skin you could get very sick. Even just contact with the water could cause serious skin irritations and other issues. In fact the state DENR and EPA has recommended that signs were put up at Falls Park warning about the toxicity of the water, but the former mayor refused afraid it would ‘scare’ tourists. That is exactly the reason the signs should be put up. Not only do we not want people swimming in the dangerous currents, we don’t want them to be in contact with this highly polluted waterway.

#6 D@ily Spin on 08.13.18 at 1:40 pm

I’ve never seen anyone swim in the river segment around the city. Rarely, I’ve seen a canoe. Redneck rule of thumb is if you stick your foot in and can’t see your toes, it’s not safe. In most areas it’s only knee deep because of the bottom silt buildup. There’s no swimming, just wading. In many spots, your legs will sink deep into the bottom and you’ll have to be rescued. Dumb idea. Dumber to dredge it and put the toxins in the land fill.

#7 scott on 08.13.18 at 8:52 pm

they better put barricades in front of the steps, so people don’t fall in.

#8 D@ily Spin on 08.14.18 at 7:25 am

I’ve wondered whether the steps are legal. They’re below flood plain elevation along a navigable stream (any waterway more than 30’ wide). Therefore, it should be federal property. However, leave them. It’s an unrestricted place on federal property where a vagrant can reside and do laundry. It might also be a place for demonstrations without being arrested by the city for trespassing.

Leave a Comment