- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP) - Officials in Watertown are working quickly to prepare the eastern South Dakota city for President Barack Obama’s commencement speech next month in the only state he has not visited.

The city is repainting streets, running their street sweepers 16 hours - instead of eight - a day and synchronizing all of its emergency management personnel, Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson told KSFY-TV (https://bit.ly/1DvhLL6 ).

During an interview with KSFY-TV anchor Nancy Naeve, Obama on Monday announced that he will give the commencement speech at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown on May 8. South Dakota became the only state in the union where the president had not visited after he stopped into Utah earlier this month.

“This is absolutely huge,” Thorson said. “I would consider this Watertown’s Super Bowl.”

In addition to cleaning up the city, Thorson said he’s also reaching out to other smaller cities that have hosted the president to ask for advice.

“You know, what went good, what didn’t go good,” he said. “There’s some great suggestions they’re giving me.”

Thorson said he’s formed a coalition of the city’s police, fire and schools. He said the group will meet again Monday to make sure everybody’s on the same page.

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Information from: KSFY-TV, https://www.ksfy.com

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