While Rapid City residents take time to consider a new arena, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender tackled a key concern of many: parking options for the new arena. According to KOTA News, current parking for the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center along with a proposed lot north of the arena will total 1,260 parking spaces. However, 300 spaces may be lost with the addition of a new arena, bringing the total down to 960.
Some residents have expressed interest in the addition of a parking ramp, but the addition would cost approximately $30 million. Alternative options to a new parking ramp include a shuttle service for patrons to the arena or simply walking several blocks from other city-owned parking lots.
To read more about the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s issue hub page.
While a half-cent sales tax increase provided higher wages for teachers in the Rapid City Area School District, a new funding formula instituted by the South Dakota State Legislature changed how local school boards can spend revenues in their general funds, according to KOTA News. Under the previous formula, districts were allowed to spend revenues from their general funds at their own discretion. However, the legislature’s changes have led the Rapid City Area School District to dip into their capital outlay fund, intended for building maintenance and supplies, to pick up costs not prescribed by the new general fund formula.
Currently there are over $58 million in expenses in the general fund. Critics have cited high administrative costs as the primary contributor for the budget shortfall, with 10 top administrative employees costing the district $1.1 million. Assistant Superintendent Dave Janak noted that the district has commissioned a study to determine cost saving measures.
To read more news about education and training in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Three tribal nations in western South Dakota recently passed resolutions in an effort to transfer control of the Sioux San Indian Health Service (IHS) facility to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, reports the Rapid City Journal. The federal government would continue to fund the IHS facility, but the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board would be responsible for management.
Federally-recognized tribal nations are able to transfer management of federally-administered programs to tribal hands through the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) of 1975. This act, commonly referred to as 638 in reference to the public law number, was passed to ensure “effective and meaningful participation by the Indian people in the planning, conduct and administration” of federal services and programs.
Under ISDEAA, tribes can either directly administer programs that would be provided directly by IHS (Title I Self-Determination Contracting) or assume control over the programs and services otherwise provided by IHS (Title V Self-Governance Compacting). The two options are not mutually exclusive and tribes can tailor the options to best fit their needs.
The tribal resolutions will now be considered by the Indian Health Services’ Great Plains Area Office in Aberdeen before heading off to the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board CEO Jerilyn Church anticipates the approval process will take anywhere from 3-6 months.
To read more about the Sioux San IHS facility, the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Rapid City Chief of Police Karl Jegeris is considering the addition of a police substation, reports KOTA News. The new addition would be located on the west side of Rapid City in order to reduce police response times on calls and to accommodate the city’s population growth projected over the next 5-10 years.
Chief Jegeris discussed the need for a substation before the Rapid City Council on April 16. The council is currently reviewing the plan for the station and have placed it on hold until 2019. The projected opening date for a new station, if approved, will be in 2024.
To read more news about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Rapid City Collective Impact is currently laying the groundwork for the operations of the OneHeart Campus, reports KOTA News. Stakeholders are considering how multiple care providers can collaborate to achieve the shared goal of assisting individuals in transitioning out of poverty and homelessness to independent living.
Project Manager Charity Doyle hopes that the OneHeart Campus will be able to partner with the Pennington County Community Restoration Center, which will be housed next to OneHeart. While the OneHeart Campus may offer a community health clinic, the Pennington County Community Restoration Center will be better able to manage crises situations, offering potential for crossover between the two entities depending on client needs.
The City of Rapid City settled its years-long lawsuit with Epic Outdoor Advertising concerning digital billboards, as reported by KOTA News. The two entities were at odds after the city passed an ordinance banning full animation and motion billboards after Epic already had been utilizing the new technology.
Under the settlement agreement, the current billboard ordinance will remain, but an amendment will be included to exempt existing billboards from requiring a conditional use permit. The agreement will also allow Epic to implement larger billboards along locations near I-90, but additional full motion billboards will no longer be permitted. Council members voting in favor of the settlement did so in part to save additional tax-dollars from being spent on further litigation.
To read more about the history of billboards in Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s issue hub page.
Rapid City recently became the first city in South Dakota to pass the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) resolution, as reported by KOTA News. Of the total 194 member states of the United Nations, 187 countries have signed the resolution. The United States is one of the seven countries that has not signed the resolution. Rapid City is one of 18 cities in the United States to pass CEDAW.
Citizen group Democracy in Action led the charge on getting the Rapid City Council’s approval of the resolution, which helps ensure the city examines proposed policy’s impact on women and children. The city council approved the resoltuion unanimously.
To read more about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
In the month of February, Rapid City issued 166 building permits with a total valuation of $27,917,585, as reported by KOTA News. One of last month’s highest-valued permits included eight apartment buildings for Meadow Apartments on Moon Meadows Drive. The permit issued for the apartments was valued at approximately $22 million. Additional projects with high valuations included two homes valued over $300,000 as well as a grocery-pick-up addition at the LaCrosse Street Walmart.
For 2018 so far, Rapid City’s Building Services Division has issued 402 permits valued at a total of $125,483,613.
To learn more about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The Journey Museum and Learning Center is hosting several presentations in March to commemorate Women’s History Month, reports KOTA News. The first presentation held was a play entitled Dakota Daughters and explored the accounts of several women’s recollection of the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Three women who played fictional characters characterized what life for women would have been like from 1865-1890 in the region. Women’s perspectives were largely unrecorded during this time period. The women starring in the play researched women’s accounts of Wounded Knee to help viewers see the event from a fresh perspective.
After conducting a five-month audit of energy usage at the City/School Administration Building in Rapid City, students from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology identified $10,000 worth of potential savings annually for the city. As reported by the Rapid City Journal, some of the recommendations made by the student team include updating the current lighting system to LED technology. The initial cost of updating the lighting would be $49,000 and would be recovered in three years’ time.
Additional recommendations included an excess of office equipment and use of space heaters and fans as a result of inefficient heating and cooling systems. Students conducted the energy audit at no cost to the city.
To read more news about Rapid City, visit the BLack Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
On February 20th, 1892, the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association held its first meeting in Rapid City at the Harney Hotel. Thirteen men attended the gathering, including the association’s first president and mayor of Rapid City, James M. Woods. The organization would go on to become the present-day South Dakota Stockgrower’s Association.
James M. Woods served as Rapid City’s seventh mayor and was in office from 1890-1894. Woods moved to the Rapid City area in 1883 and purchased tracts of land along Elk Creek. Shortly after moving into the region, he formed the Woods, White and Woods Cattle Company with his brother, W.S. Woods, who was the president of the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City, Missouri. The company came to be valued at one million dollars and over 20,000 head of cattle by 1885.
Woods also had a passion for horses, and was instrumental in organizing the first horse roundup in 1887 at Brennan Station. By 1891, Woods had acquired a ranch in Rapid Valley along Rapid Creek. On April 26th of that year, the Black Hills Horse Breeders Association was organized and Woods was elected as its president.
Although Woods was instrumental in the formation of the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association, he served as its president for just 70 days—from its inaugural meeting on February 20th 1892 to April 21, 1892.
A list of past presidents for the South Dakota Stockgrower’s Association can be found on the association’s website. Learn more about James M. Woods and other past mayors of Rapid City on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s website.
Rapid City’s public transportation system had a ridership increase of 30.6 percent in January 2018 when compared to the same point in 2016. According to a city news release, over 41,000 trips were taken by passengers in January 2018 compared to 31,645 in January 2016.
Of the total 41,342 rides taken in January 2018, 13,075 were taken by student passengers. The transportation system has seen a significant increase in youth trips taken since the city made the decision to allow students to ride for free in 2016.
To read more about transportation issues in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
On February 12, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender hosted the final public forum concerning the future of the Barnett Arena prior to a council meeting in which members are expected to make a decision on two options for the arena. As reported by KOTA News, the council will hold a special session on February 26th in which it is expected to decide on one of two options for the arena. One option, at an approximate cost of $25 million, would involve remodeling the arena. The second option of rebuilding the arena would cost approximately $130 million.
Councilmember Ritchie Nordstrom as well as Mayor Allender noted that while there is a perception among residents that the remodel or rebuilding of the arena will be funded through a property tax, that is not the case. Funding for a new facility would partially be derived from the Rapid City Vision Fund, as well as additional funds set aside by the city council.
To read more news about the Barnett Arena, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is in the early phases of planning an alumni center, according to KOTA News. Officials from the school indicate the building would serve as a meeting place for its alumni on campus, as well as reflect on their accomplishments and memories.
The alumni center would also house the school’s foundation center. Meeting and conference rooms, a catering kitchen and an event area would also be included in the proposed center. Charitable donations will be the primary funding mechanism for the alumni center.
To read more about the South Dakota School of Mines, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Absentee ballots for the changes to water rates in Rapid City became available for residents on February 5th, reports KOTA News. While the Rapid City Council had previously approved a water rate increase through resolution, political interest group Citizens for Liberty gathered sufficient signatures to place the matter to a public vote. Holding the public vote will cost the city approximately $60,000, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Although the matter is going to a public vote, the Rapid City Council may still be able to adjust the water rates. The question posed in the special election is whether or not the council can adjust water rates via resolution rather than ordinance. A “no” vote would indicate that council cannot adjust the rates via resolution, but it would still be able to amend the original ordinance to adjust the rates.
Early votes concerning the water rate can be cast at the Pennington County Auditor’s Office until the day before the election. The general election will be held on February 20th. For more information on Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Following Rapid CIty’s 2017 Progress Report, Mayor Steve Allender rejuvenated efforts to develop the city’s relationship with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. As reported by KOTA News, while many people see Rapid City as a tourist destination, the mayor hopes it will grow to become a college town.
The School of Mines hosts several events which benefit the Rapid City community, including a day of service and food drives. President Jim Rankin also hopes to spur economic development by encouraging students to develop and locate their businesses in Rapid City.
Motor vehicle thefts were a major cause for concern in Rapid City in 2017, according to the Rapid City Police Department’s recently released 2017 Crime Report. Thefts from motor vehicles increased by 33% when compared to 2016, and were directly correlated to individuals leaving their vehicles unlocked or running.
Murders, arson, and driving under the influence (DUI) arrests also increased last year when compared to 2016. In 2017, there were a total of seven murders, five more than in 2016 but less than a recent high of nine committed in 2015. There were nine cases of arson reported in 2017, the most cases seen since the eight committed in 2015. DUI arrests also increased by 16%, rising from 937 in 2016 to 1,012 in 2017.
Although increases were seen in several crimes, several crimes also declined. Robberies declined by 14% from 2016 to 2017 while theft decreased by 5%. Officers in Rapid City issued also fewer citations and warnings in 2017 than in 2016. Citations in Rapid City declined by 22.7%, from 8,306 in 2016 to 6,417 last year, while warnings declined even further, from 5,658 compared to 8,221 in 2016.
To find more news related to the Rapid City Police Department, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
For the last several years, a group of local researchers have been examining the history of the Rapid City Indian School and the surrounding property. For a full overview of their preliminary findings, including a history of the Rapid City Indian School, please see document attached below, entitled "An Inconvenient Truth: The History Behind the Sioux San Lands and West Rapid City," which ran in the Rapid City Journal in the spring of 2017. Over the next several months, the researchers will be uploading their documents to the BHKN. The first batch appears below.
Lead has been named the third safest city in South Dakota according to a new report conducted by Safe Home Security. As reported by KOTA News, Lead had a safety score of 95 out of 100. Safe Home Security bases its score on the total number and type of crimes committed in the area as well as total population and the number of law enforcement officials.
Sisseton was named the safest city in South Dakota with a safety score of 98.7, while Rapid City placed last with a score of 66.8. Sioux Falls also earned a low safety rating of 71.1. See how all 25 South Dakota cities included in the study were ranked here.
Data from the study was compiled from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and included South Dakota cities with a population of at least 2,000. You can read about the study’s full methodology here.
In 2017, Rapid City had the most Airbnb visitors in South Dakota, reports KOTA News. Approximately 11,500 bookings were made in Rapid City with hosts bringing in $1.2 million. Sioux Falls placed second in the state with 7,000 bookings and $445,000 in revenue for Airbnb hosts. While Lead placed fewer bookings than Sioux Falls at 4,700, its hosts out-earned Sioux Falls with $582,000 generated. Over $4 million was generated across South Dakota in 2017.
To read more about the economy in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.