Plankinton fulfills housing need with new development

Plankinton Development Corporation President Ron Kristensen believes his community is in a unique position – poised for growth but limited by one necessity.

“We have jobs, but we need sites ready for housing,” said Kristensen.

Strategically located at the intersection of two national highways, Interstate 90 and US 281, Plankinton, South Dakota has seen dramatic growth in recent years. The city has added nearly 50 residences since 2000 and its population grew 17% from 2000 to 2010. Increased job opportunities, a new school and a revitalized business district have drawn a growing number of young people and families to the community, leading to a strong need for additional housing.

The development board previously found success offering free housing lots to anyone planning to build. Now, as one housing development sits full, with all seventeen lots either purchased or occupied, work is underway on an adjacent second development.

From left to right: Heartland CFO Mike Malone, Plankinton Development Board President Ron Kristensen, Heartland Customer Relations Manager Steve Moses, and Plankinton Light Superintendent Vern Hill
From left to right: Heartland CFO Mike Malone, Plankinton Development Corporation President Ron Kristensen, Heartland Customer Relations Manager Steve Moses, and Plankinton Light Superintendent Vern Hill.

“Not only will we be able to offer more options to future homeowners, but the new development will increase the city’s sales tax revenue, thereby increasing the city’s value and potentially lowering the property tax level,” said Kristensen.

Kristensen believes the location of the new development will be a big draw for residents.

“The new sites are close to the school which is important for many young families in town. Residents will also be able to live closer to their jobs.”

The new development will be built in two stages and will feature 14 lots. Infrastructure installation has already begun, with water supply available. Two lots are currently construction ready, but the installation of underground utilities later this fall will bring that total up to nine.

Heartland awarded the Plankinton Development Corporation a $5,000 economic development grant to assist with costs of preparing the development.

“Housing is an issue for many communities but it means the city is doing something right,” said Heartland CFO Mike Malone. “If people want to live there, there must be good jobs available and an excellent quality of life. Heartland is always excited to see our customers in growth mode.”

Heartland provides wholesale power to the city of Plankinton and awards economic development grants to help fund projects that spark growth and development in customer communities. Projects that promote economic prosperity, support new business opportunities or improve the social and economic well-being of local residents may qualify for the program.


April proclaimed Safe Digging Month

With warm weather and spring projects just around the corner, April is the perfect time to remind residents to call 811 prior to beginning any digging project. Calling 811 can protect lives and critical underground utilities.

Utility services such as gas, electricity, water and telephone are vital infrastructure within a community. When an excavator strikes one of these lines, the result may lead to significant disruption of services, or worse yet, harm to themself or others. Additionally, they may be held financially responsible for any damage caused. Those who call 811 prior to starting a project can significantly reduce these occurrences. “

It is easy to forget that many of the essentials to our daily living are buried beneath our feet,” said Heartland Customer Relations & Marketing Manager Steve Moses. “Electricity, natural gas, communication lines and water and sewer services could be interrupted if someone decides to dig without first having the appropriate individuals mark their yard. The process is easy, fast and free.”

811A call to 811 is required at least 48 hours to all digging projects, no matter the size. The possibility of striking underground utilities exists even with smaller activities such as building a patio or deck, or installing a fence or mailbox post.

“The depth of each buried line varies. The risk of striking a line or pipe exists even a few inches below the ground,” South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Chris Nelson said. “It’s imperative that homeowners and professional excavators take time to have all underground utilities located and marked before breaking ground.”

South Dakota residents can visit for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process. Iowans should visit In Minnesota, provides all the necessary information for excavators, utilities and homeowners.

The 811 number is a national “Call Before You Dig” phone number designated by the FCC to eliminate the confusion of multiple numbers across the U.S. The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is the leading association created specifically to work with all industry stakeholders in an effort to prevent damage to underground utility infrastructure and ensure public safety and environmental protection. Along with the 811 phone number, CGA and its 1,400 members and sponsors launched the national “Call Before You Dig” campaign to increase public awareness about the importance of using 811, having utility lines marked before digging, and protecting America’s vast underground infrastructure of pipelines, conduits, wires and cables. For more information on the national “Call Before You Dig” campaign or the CGA, visit