Unruly Guests during 2011 Festival Prompt Campground Closing
Due to elevated activities during last year's Quarry Days event, the city council in Dell Rapids, S.D., voted last week to close the city's campground by the baseball field from Thursday, June 21, to Monday, June 25.
The 25th annual community festival is scheduled for June 22-24. The town of 3,000 is located in eastern South Dakota.
At the council's regular meeting April 16, the group decided that after police were called last year to the campground late Friday night and early Saturday morning to deal with disorderly behavior, it would be best to close the campground to the public altogether, the Dell Rapids Tribune reported.
At the 2011 outing, Minnehaha County Sheriff's Department officials remained in the area until 4 a.m. to deal with unruly guests, following an 8:30 p.m. complaint about loud, intoxicated young adults.
"That campground area was very crowded," county sheriff Mike Milstead said at the time. "There was a lot of heavy drinking going on, and it got disorderly."
Disorderly conduct, underage consumption and DWI charges were issued to guests, including underage ones, during the night.
City administrator Justin Weiland said the city has cause to close down the campground due to repeat issues during Quarry Days. "We have had issues there the past several years," he said. "These issues have progressed and gotten worse. It's a city property. Things have escalated down there numerous years in a row.'
The administrator suggested "wiping the slate clean" by taking some time to reorganize the way the campground is administrated by the city.
Mayor Scott Fiegen said that police coverage is a key element of maintaining the area after the baseball game. "If we don't eliminate (use of the campground), we're going to need to have a pretty good deputy down there from the very beginning," he said.
Weiland said that the officers can only do so much when it comes to monitoring elevated and/or intoxicated behavior at the campground. "They are a policing authority, but you can't expect them to babysit people all night."
With the vote approved to close the site for the weekend, Councilor Todd Wiebenga said that it would be a good idea to utilize the spot for sanctioned Quarry Days events that can be better controlled. "I'd really like to see something happen there, rather than just letting is sit empty."