Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

At the request of the Executive Director of the Deadwood Gaming Association on behalf of 13 Deadwood hotel owners, the Deadwood City Commission recently approved the creation of a new business improvement district (BID). As reported by the Black Hills Pioneer, BID 8 will consist of a hotel occupancy rate proposed at $2 per rented room, per night.

The next step in formally establishing the new district is a public hearing and resolution for the consideration and approval by the Deadwood City Commission. Copies of the resolution must be made available to the businesses within BID 8. The BID process is likely to be completed by May, but until then, no taxes will be collected.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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In December 2017, gaming revenue in Deadwood was up 15% when compared to December 2016. According to KOTA News, while the city closed out 2017 on a positive note, 2017 as a whole was down approximately 1% from 2016.

Gaming was down by nearly 4% through June 2017.However, increased revenues through the remainder of the year reduced the potential shortfall.

Additional details on gaming revenues in Deadwood can be found on the South Dakota Department of Revenue’s website. To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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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.

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The Rapid City Regional Airport served approximately 600,000 customers in 2017, reports KOTA News. This reflects a one percent increase over the previous record set in 2010.

While 2017 set an overall record in passengers served at the airport, Executive Director Patrick Dame noted that some of the increase could be attributed to competitors traveling to Rapid City for the International Collegiate Programming Contest held at the South Dakota School of Mines in May 2017.  Adding routes to Charlotte, NC and Chicago, IL may have also contributed to the increase in passengers.

To learn more about the Rapid City Regional Airport, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Spearfish set a new record for building valuations in 2017 at $52 million, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The previous record was set in 2014 at $49 million.

Commercial as well as residential building projects contributed to last year’s valuation. For residential permits, 79 new buildings as well as 21 manufactured homes were valued at $24,348,948. Several new commercial properties, including one currently under construction on Main Street and Jackson Boulevard, were valued at $14,952,317.  Over 60 commercial alterations and additions were valued at $8,312,103.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Although Deadwood’s gaming revenue has largely been down in 2017, a 0.3% increase in spending across table games and slot machines occurred in November 2017 when compared to November 2016. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, table games were up 6.4% when compared to November of last year, while slot machines were down 0.1% when compared across the same timeframe.

Hotel occupancy was also slightly higher in November 2017 than November 2016. Hotels were 30.4% occupied, a 1.4% increase over November 2016. Executive Director of the Deadwood Gaming Association Mike Rodman indicated milder temperatures and events including a craft beer festival may have increased this year’s occupancy rates.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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During its December 4 city commission meeting, city commissioners approved a $3.4 million budget increase, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The additional budget funds will be directed toward tax-increment financing and expenditures as well as infrastructure.

The supplemental budget includes $189,000 for debt services to the historic preservation fund, $2.6 million toward TIF #10, or TRU Hotel construction expenses, among other expenditures.

To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile or online news archive.

Published in News
Monday, 13 November 2017 22:56

State Legislators Want Pay Increase

South Dakota legislators are asking the South Dakota Executive Board for an increase in pay, reports KOTA News. The board is considering a resolution that would tie the legislators’ pay to the state’s median household income.

State legislators make $6,000 over the course of 35 working days in even numbered years and 40 working days in odd numbered years. Their pay has not been increased in approximately 20 years.  The proposed increase in pay would set legislator pay at one-fifth of South Dakota’s median household income, which was $54,467 in 2016, the year for which the most recent data is available. If approved, the salaries of legislators would increase to $10,190.

To read more about the 2018 legislative session, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s website.

Published in News
Thursday, 02 November 2017 17:13

IN HISTORY: Deadwood Legalizes Gambling in 1989

On November 1, 1989, gambling was officially legalized in Deadwood, South Dakota. As the casinos reopened, gamblers placed approximately $145 million in bets during the first eight months legalized gambling. Although there was an early snowfall which made driving conditions difficult, Deadwood’s Main Street was filled with tourists looking to win big in the newly-opened saloons.

Gambling was legalized in Deadwood in an effort to diversify the town’s economy. The largest employer was the nearby Homestake Gold Mine, which provided a few hundred jobs to area residents. Tourism was Deadwood’s next largest economic contributor, which ebbed and flowed alongside the seasons.

Canvassers sought enough signatures from registered voters across the state to allow a state constitutional amendment to approve limited gambling in Deadwood on the November 1988 ballot. South Dakota voters approved the amendment by a wide margin. The state legislature drafted and passed the requisite legislation to approve gambling during the following legislative session early in 1989. Finally, the last step required Deadwood residents to approve gambling in a town election

Prior to the legalization in 1989, gambling had been banned in Deadwood since 1905. While many residents of the town were pleased with the ban, miners who lived in town lost gambling houses as places to relax and enjoy a drink after a long day in the mines.

To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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Following stable growth over the summer months, gaming revenue in Deadwood took a fall in September. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, gaming numbers declined by nearly two percent when compared to September 2016. However, September 2017 revenue was down nearly 12 percent when compared to September 2015.

Nearly $6.2 million in revenue was reported from table games in Deadwood, representing an increase of 8.6 percent from September 2016. However, the total slot machine handle for September 2017 of $95.2 million accounted for a 2.6 percent decline from September 2016.

For more information about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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Teachers in the Rapid City Area School District received a salary increase of more than nine percent last year, as reported by KOTA News. This increase is slightly over the statewide average salary increase for teachers of eight percent. Officials with the Rapid City Area School District noted that they were able to offer base salaries of $40,000.

To learn more about education and training in the Black Hills region, visit the Education and Training issue hub on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

Published in News
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:08

Rapid City Teachers Still in Contract Negotiations

The Rapid City Education Association and Rapid City Area Schools are still in negotiations concerning this year’s contract for the district’s teachers, reports KOTA News. While the teacher’s union requested a $1,000 raise for teachers, the school district has offered $500 for teachers off schedule. Teachers have also been asked to absorb an increase in health insurance and their union has requested that they only absorb half of the increase.

A new agreement is not likely to be reached in September. The Rapid City Education Association has requested a fact-finding hearing. A court date has yet to be determined.

To read more about education and training in Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub.

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Deadwood’s casinos saw an uptick in revenue last month, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. In July 2017, just over $106 million was played on machines and tables in the city, resulting in a 0.6 percent increase over July 2016.

While gaming numbers increased slightly, stays at the city’s hotels declined by approximately 2.0 percent in July 2017. Celebrity Hotel and Casino General Manager Ken Gienger indicated rental homes marketed online may be contributed to the decline in hotel stays. Travel websites are also used to help gauge the relative cost of prices to keep hotels competitive.

To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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With its recent opening of a retail store in the Rushmore Mall in Rapid City, T-Mobile marked its first retail location in the state of South Dakota. According to KOTA News, T-Mobile provides over 314 million people with 4GLTE coverage. The cellular provider hopes that its new location in South Dakota will provide new jobs in addition to additional choices in cellular coverage for South Dakota customers.

To read more about innovation and technology, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Deadwood City COmmission recently approved an increase of $600,000 in tax incremental financing to the Cadillac Jack’s expansion project, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The increase in financial support brings total TIF funds to $2.6 million and will help support additional construction costs due to changing soil conditions on the property.

Of the total $600,000 increase, $100,000 will go toward improvements on nearby Crescent Street, which was recently moved into the same TIF district as the Cadillac Jack’s expansion. The improvements will include a new sidewalk that connects to the new pedestrian bridge that will lead to the rodeo grounds across from the hotel complex.

To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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At the recent session of the Rapid City Council, concerns were brought up regarding Mayor Allender's proposed budget for 2018. According to a report from KOTA, chief among them were a number of proposed cuts to community programs and the possibility of property tax increases should more money not be found. Council members will be looking at the budget in the near future to determine if cuts need to be made while trying to keep property taxes from rising, especially with another election season coming next summer.

To read up on past and current news articles related to the government of Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.

For more information on the government and citizenship of the city, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Community Profiles page.

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To date, more tourists have visited the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 2017 than at the same time last year. According to KOTA News, attendance has increased 1.1 percent from 2016. The most-attended day at Mount Rushmore was July 3rd, which increased by 5.3 percent over last year.

The increase in attendance is notable as many national parks have seen a decline in visitors in 2017 following last year’s centennial celebration. Attendance at nearby Yellowstone National Park decreased by five percent this year to date.

To read more about tourism in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive. Learn more about Mount Rushmore on the Black Hills Knowledge Network digital history archive.

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As the 77th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally ended this past weekend, Department of Transportation officials have reported that this year's rally was nearly 4.5 percent bigger over last years event. According to the Rapid City Journal, counters indicated that over 376.000 rallygoers came into Sturgis this year, as opposed to just under 360,000 last year. While the calm and cool weather was appreciated by all, accidents and motorcyle-related deaths were up as well with the uptick in attendance numbers.

To read past and current news articles related to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.

For more information on the Rally itself, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub page.

Published in News
Friday, 11 August 2017 17:13

Hill City - Work & Economy

The Hill City economy climbed 13.23 percent in the past year, generating $64,361,110.74 in business activity subject to state sales tax in fiscal year 2016 (July 2015-June 2016) compared to $56,841,240.19 in FY2015. To see complete, monthly reports of sales tax information on Piedmont, visit the South Dakota Department of Revenue website.

Gross Sales Revenue 

Business in Pennington County did nearly $6.6 billion in gross sales in 2016 as reported by the South Dakota Department of Revenue.  

Employment and Workforce 

Employment in Hill City is based on the timber, tourism, and telecommunications industries. The timber industry is important to Hill City since it is located in the Black Hills National Forest. Rushmore Forest Products runs a lumber mill outside of town and is the area's largest employer.

In 2015, Pennington Cfounty has 55,556 total jobs, a .2 percent increase from the previous year. South Dakota had about 416,020 jobs and the United States about 139,491,699. Both South Dakota and the United States had a 14.3 and 7.4 percent increase in total jobs respectively.

Pennington County had a 76.2 percent proportion of adults working, less than the South Dakota average of 76.4 percent, but larger than the national average of 68.7 percent. 

Hill City has increasingly become the arts community of the Black Hills, and is the home to the Warrior's Work gallery, which features both Indian art and art reflecting the West, Black Hills Bronze, and the home gallery of well-known local painter Jon Crane. It is also the home of Art of the Hills magazine, which focuses on the art and artists of the region.

Like several of the small towns near Sturgis, the Hill City economy benefits during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August, which brings business and fills the campgrounds bordering the town.

Income & Wages 

The Median Household Income of Hill City was $46,607 in 2015, That’s less than both the South Dakota median of $53,017 and the national median of $55,775.

Approximately 12.2 percent of the total population in Pennington County live in poverty. The state’s poverty rate is 13.7 percent as compared to the United States average of 14.7 percent.  

More Information 

For more data on the economies of South Dakota and the Black Hills, please check out our interactive graphs and charts on the South Dakota Dashboard. 

Published in Hill City

While it comes as no surprise to local residents in the state, a report issued by the Outdoor Industry Association has published a report stating just how much of an impact hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities have on the economy. According to the Rapid City Journal, the report states that outdoor activities bring in $4.7 billion each year and influence nearly 48,000 jobs directly in South Dakota. The total amount represents everything from gear and licenses to hotel rooms and restaurant visits.

To read up on past and current news articles related to the outdoors activities in the region, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.

For more information on some outdoor activities in the Black Hills, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub webpage.

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