South Dakota lands commissioner isn’t sure about holding auction for Watertown lots

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A long, narrow strip of land at Watertown that had been used by a now-defunct railroad but remained owned by the State of South Dakota might be headed to auction.

Or not.

A decision hasn’t been made what to do, Ryan Brunner said Wednesday. He is school and public lands commissioner for South Dakota.

His office will determine what happens. Right now Brunner doesn’t know.

The strip is behind the Ramkota on Watertown’s southwest side.

Previous commissioners sold other parcels along the rail line.

“This is the last bit we have left. We don’t have a sale scheduled,” Brunner said.

His office contracted with an outside appraiser to determine the value. That came back as a range of $125,000 to $150,000.

Brunner and state Auditor Rich Sattgast met Wednesday as the South Dakota Board of Appraisal and officially set the minimum price for the two parcels at 46 cents per square foot.

That would make the minimum amount acceptable for the entire property $136,242.34.

The lots measure 85,423 square feet and 210,756 square feet.

The land isn’t generating income now, according to Brunner.

He said selling one or both would put land back on the tax roll, while his office’s permanent trust fund would invest the money received from a public auction.

The board’s official price would be the minimum amount the state treasury could accept for the next two years. If one or both lots didn’t sell within the two years, there would need to be another appraisal.

“We want to be ready to sell it, if the opportunity is there. We may not sell it for two years. We may not sell it for 10 years,” Brunner said.

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