Meade County investigating sinkholes while looking at funding for residents

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A total of 12 families have been forced to leave their homes in Black Hawk after two sinkholes opened, exposing the mine.

What we know now is that the Hideaway Hills subdivision was approved by Meade County in 2002. Meade County Emergency Management and Equalization and Planning are looking through documents in order to answer the question, how was the development built on top of a mine. That documentation is needed before residents can get help.

The county is looking into having FEMA pay the homeowners to buy them out, and then have the homes demolished and turn the area into ‘green space.’

Baleigh Kienzle, resident of East Daisy Drive, said “Me and many of neighbors, we haven’t been able to get any sleep, just the thought of what could happen, the possibility of what could happen, the slightest noises just terrify us.”

The program application is due July 31, and requires hundreds of pages of documentation.

Doug Huntrods, Meade County Emergency Manager, said “We would need to fill out a packet for each of the homeowners, it includes appraisals, in this case probably some engineering studies and additional information regarding the properties, all the legal descriptions, so it’s very in depth. Almost as if you were to buy a house and use somebody else’s money. So it’s a very in depth process.”

The program is competitive, requires $1.2 million in infrastructure damage and will only pay 75% of the home values pre-sinkhole. The other 25% would have to come from elsewhere.

“It’s one of those things where there are more questions than answers right now as we work through the process.” said Huntrods.

In the meantime, they are working to provide resources for residents whether it be mental health resources, utilities, temporary lodging, etc.

“My youngest was born in this home, came home … And it’s just hard and knowing we were eventually going to move, eventually we were going to get out of here and move and grow, but it not being on our terms to move is the scariest part.” said Kienzle.

South Dakota Department of Transportation is also investigating the state of I-90 as it it believed the mine runs under the interstate. The results of the investigation will be available to Meade County and the property owners.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News