PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — There’s now another use for the many miles of inactive railroad lines that the state government of South Dakota owns.

Let communities put up welcome signs.

The state Railroad Board has approved a permit for the city of Lake Andes to do just that.

“This is something we’ve never had a request for,” said Jack Dokken, who oversees railroads for the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

The board’s vote Wednesday was unanimous.

City officials had wanted the sign along SD 50. But DOT staff decided the right of way was too narrow in that stretch to safely have an 8X10-foot sign there, especially if there was to be landscaping work, and the city didn’t own any property nearby.

“We really spent quite a bit of money on the sign and can’t find a place to put it,” Deb Houseman, the finance officer for Lake Andes, explained to the board.

The dilemma led to the suggestion of another spot: The rail bed right of way, between the highway and a walking path atop the old rail bed.

State Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt said one of the permit’s conditions is that Lake Andes will have to pay for the sign’s removal should the rail line become active again.