- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls officials have declined to release a copy of a 2016 safety audit of Falls Park after a 5-year-old Iowa girl drowned in the area.

City officials used the audit last week to argue that the park’s safety precautions are adequate after authorities recovered the body of Maggie Zaiger, who died March 18 after falling into the Big Sioux River at Falls Park. Maggie’s mother and some elected officials have called for more safety measures at the park, including a fence or barricade near the river’s edge.

The Argus Leader filed a formal request with the city under South Dakota’s open records law March 20 seeking a copy of the document.

The day following Maggie’s death, Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith said in a briefing that the audit was conducted by an independent loss control specialist in partnership with the city and the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance, the city’s insurance company.

Any existing documents relating to the audit belong to Assurance Alliance, said Heather Hitterdal, a spokeswoman for Mayor Mike Huether.

“We have learned that the city did not contract with any third-party loss control specialist to do the review, rather the city’s risk sharing pool, the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance (SDPAA), did. We have referred the record request to the SDPAA,” Hitterdal said in an email. “Documents, if any, would be in the custody of the SDPAA.”

The newspaper made a formal request for the audit from the insurance company Monday.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com


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