PACE Strategic Development, LLC, a consultant hired to facilitate the Spearfish Community Strategic Plan, recently presented to the Spearfish City Council, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. During the presentation, members of the public, city council, city staff and others listened to and helped determine priorities for 2018-2020.
Some of the highest priorities for Spearfish include a recreational path to Exit 8 of Interstate 90, rehabilitating the McLaughlin property which was recently purchased by the city, conducting a study of the city’s utility rates, a strategic plan for the fire department, and others. Next steps for the strategic plan include the development of detailed action plans as well as developing methods to track progress and accountability.
In 2017, police officers in Spearfish worked on 9,039 cases, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The total number of cases is down slightly from 9,215 cases in 2016. Of those cases, the most frequent case type was traffic stops at 1,390. There were 423 welfare checks, 396 instances of community policing and 351 occurences of accidents.
Property loss and theft comprised 176 and 157 respective cases. The police department also assisted the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office with 152 total cases. Spearfish Police Department Chief noted that the case load and distribution was consistent with previous years.
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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.
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The Grace Balloch Memorial Library in Spearfish is now offering a free delivery service to library patrons who are unable to visit the library, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The Library will work with individuals to determine how often and which materials should be delivered.
The library is partnering with Circle K, a student volunteer organization at Black Hills State University, in order to provide the delivery services. The student volunteers will deliver and pick up materials from library patrons in Spearfish.
To learn more about Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
Physicians working in emergency rooms throughout the Black Hills have noted an increase in emergency visits as a result of illicit and illegal drug use, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Methamphetamine, heroin and synthetic marijuana are among the most common drug overdoses seen in emergency rooms in the region. Some physicians have also seen heroin laced fentanyl, a powerful drug commonly used to abate pain following surgery.
Although methamphetamine still comprises a large number of drug-related hospital visits, area physicians indicated that more individuals are using heroin due to its affordability. The number of teenage patients admitted for drug overdoses has also risen in recent years.
To read more news about health and wellness in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Crow Peak Hall on the Black Hills State University campus has a new name. As reported by KOTA News, the hall was recently renamed Bordeaux Hall in honor of Dr. Lionel Bordeaux who is an alumnus of the university and later went on to earn his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Minnesota. Bordeaux then utilized his education and became the president of Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation.
Bordeaux has served as the president of Sinte Gleska University for over 44 years, making him one of the longest-serving university presidents in the United States. Bordeaux is also a member of the South Dakota Hall of Fame and has previously served on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council.
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On September 18, the Spearfish City Council approved a budget of $25.3 million for 2018, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. The 2018 budget marks a 1.8 percent decrease over the previous year’s budget. However, the 2018 budget calls for a 0.031 increase to the mill levy to cover expenditures.
The city also approved a $1 increase on the sewer base rate, a 50 cent increase on wastewater base rates, and a 50 cent increase on solid waste/garbage. There will not be an increase on water base rates.
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The Spearfish Planning Commission has recommended establishing a tax-increment financing district for the Jackson Boulevard redesign project, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. Funds from the TIF district would go toward design updates including landscaping, enhanced sidewalks and crosswalks.
The request to create a new TIF district will now head to the Spearfish City Council on October 2 for approval.
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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is working on replacing a bridge and installing a new observation deck at Spearfish Falls. According to KOTA News, interpretive signs detailing the history of the area will also be placed along trails near the falls.
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The Spearfish City Council is set for the first reading of its 2018 budget proposal on Tuesday, September 5th. The budget proposed will have an overall decrease of 1.8 percent from last year’s 2017 budget proposal and sees an increase in taxes and utility rates reports the Black Hills Pioneer.
Residents will be expected to pay an increase in utilities and property taxes to meet expenditures for the coming year. The mill levy will increase 0.0031 giving the city $2.825 per $1,000 for its main operating fund, which is mostly financed through property taxes.
Many organization will see an increase in funding, however. City employees will receive a two percent step increase and a one percent cost of living increase. A 1.4 percent increase will benefit organizations such as the Western Hills Humane Society, Artemis House, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. The City’s Hospitality Fund will increase 1.2 percent to help fund historic preservation, Special Olympics South Dakota, High Plains Western Heritage Center, and Matthews Opera House. The biggest cut however comes from the Visit Spearfish organization which is appropriated $175,000, a cut of 12.5 percent.
The City of Spearfish’s Capital Improvement Plan consists of $4,084,751 which will include money for new snow removal equipment, road improvement, as well as funds to purchase the former McLaughlin Sawmill.
The full reading will be held Tuesday night. The complete budget proposal will be available at the city finance office. To learn more about the 2018 budget discussions, explore Spearfish City Council minutes. Visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile to learn more about Spearfish.
The board of trustees for the Spearfish Rural Fire Protection District is expected to begin negotiating contracts for fire protection services, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The board is planning to discuss options with the fire departments of Spearfish, Belle Fourche and Whitewood about costs for providing fire protection within the Spearfish Rural Fire District.
The cost of providing firefighting services will include purchasing equipment, legal counsel, accounting, insurance and building construction. The board also wants to avoid duplication of services.
To read more about environment and conservation issues in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive. Visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile to learn more about Spearfish.
Several renovations were recently completed at Spearfish schools, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Two air-handlers with a capacity of 15 tons were installed over the summer at the district's high school, replacing two previous handlers which had been in use since the school’s construction in 1979.
The high school also received updated LED lighting in its gym. The lighting project cost approximately $45,000, but a $7,000 manufacturer’s rebate was redeemed by the district. The district will also recoup the initial cost of the LED lights through savings in energy bills.
The Spearfish City Council recently decided to delay the implementation of the Jackson Boulevard redesign in order to avoid three seasons of construction on a major thoroughfare in the city, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Patches and additional sealants will be applied to the road to maintain it sufficiently until the redesign, projected to now begin in 2019.
The redesign is slated for a stretch of Jackson Boulevard from University Street to Exit 12 and will cost approximately $7-8 million. The project includes updates to the city’s storm drainage, roadway resurfacing, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance updates, safety updates and new streetscape design and beautification.
The Spearfish City Council recently approved the purchase of a mobile surveillance camera, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The camera would be used in problem areas in order to deter crimes from occurring. The cost of the camera is $15,628.
The police department has been in search of mobile surveillance equipment for a number of years. The new technology will enable police to monitor parks, especially when new park equipment including playgrounds and benches are installed—times when the city has seen an increase in vandalism.
The camera can be used in public areas without special permissions. However, a warrant would be required in order for police to use the camera on private property.
Work at the intersection of First Avenue and 27th Street—near the Exit 14 reconstruction project in Spearfish—is anticipated to conclude in approximately three weeks, as reported by the Black Hills Pioneer. When the southeast portion of the intersection is complete, traffic will shift onto the newly completed section of roadway, but the four-way stop configuration will remain.
The deck of the six-lane bridge currently being constructed over Interstate 90 will likely be finished in late September or early October, with full completion likely occurring by June 2018. The cost of the bridge is estimated at $6.5 million.
The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for the Spearfish School District was recently approved by the Spearfish School Board, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The FY18 general fund contribution increased slightly to $14.8 million from the previous year’s $14.6 million. The increased budget is a reflection of 83 new students to the district.
The capital outlay allocation also increased this year, at $4.1 million, over $3.2 million the previous year. Capital outlay funds are largely used for building maintenance. Special education increased to $3.1 million from the previous year’s $3.1 million.
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Although an original form of the proposal called for bicycle lanes on Jackson Boulevard from University to 11th Streets, the updated plan calls for bicycle lanes on a shorter segment of road. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the new plan calls for the bicycle lanes to be removed from 3rd to 11th Streets due to safety concerns.
Some of the concerns at the intersection of University and 11th Streets were combining pedestrian and bicycle lanes. Although the new plan may result in reduced construction costs, City Engineer Kyle Mathis warned that the design cost and timeline may increase and be extended as a result of the change in plans.
The Jackson Boulevard redesign calls for three driving lanes alongside right and left turn lanes at intersections, a roundabout at the Ames Street intersection, medians, and reduced parking. The estimated cost of the redesign is between $7 and $8 million.
With trout densities approaching 4,000 per square mile, experts reduced the total number of brown trout in Spearfish Canyon last year, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Trout over three years of age in Spearfish Creek, Spearfish Canyon and in portions of the creek throughout Spearfish have experienced stunted growth.
After reducing the population of brown trout, which tend to behave more aggressively than rainbow trout, researchers are now looking into whether or not the overall population has experienced greater individual growth with reduced population numbers.
This year’s examination marks the second year of a three year study. While it is too soon to determine if the removal efforts have had a positive impact, the current results indicate that the remaining fish have experienced some growth.
On July 30, a Termesphere created by Spearfish artist Dick Termes was installed on the clocktower at the corner of Hudson and Main Streets in Spearfish, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The 3-foot-diameter Termesphere features local landscapes.
A gear system for the Termesphere turns the orb around for viewers to get a better glance at all of its artwork. The mechanism was created by Jared Capp.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized Black Hills State University for its work in sustainability, reports KOTA News. The university earned a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) silver rating as a result of its efforts.
The university has headed several sustainability initiatives, including Bike Spearfish! And Spearfish Local. Bike Spearfish! Aims to create more trails for cyclists and improve biker safety awareness. Spearfish Local brings together local producers to increase purchases of local foods.
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