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.
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.
Residents of Rapid City listened to Mayor Steve Allender present two options for the future of the Barnett Arena at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. According to KOTA News, one option is to build an entirely new arena with a cost estimated between $100-$130 million. The other option involves renovations, which are estimated at $25 million.
A special meeting to discuss and vote on options for the arena will be held by the Rapid City Council on February 26. Additional public presentations on the future of the Barnett Arena will be available through May 2018.
For more information on the history of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
After hearing concerns from citizens and the Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee is considering an ordinance that would create greater distinction between security vehicles from police vehicles, as reported by KOTA News.
Under the new proposal, private security vehicles must display the word “security” on the sides and back of the car. Currently, one private security company utilizes the word “patrol” on its vehicles, causing some confusion among Rapid City residents.
To read more topics related the law enforcement in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Residents of Rapid City and the surrounding area will soon be able to take a direct flight to Newark, New Jersey. As reported by KOTA News, United Airlines will begin flying to Newark Liberty International Airport from Rapid City on June 23. The route will be offered on Saturdays through the first week of September.
Newark is located approximately 60 miles northeast of Philadelphia and 15 miles southwest of New York City.
To read more news about Rapid City Regional Airport, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Public presentations have been scheduled to discuss the future of the Barnett Arena in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, reports KOTA News. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender will host presentations on January 11 at 6:30 p.m. and on January 20th at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center’s LaCroix Hall A.
Mayor Allender will answer questions during the presentation in addition to providing a tour of the Barnett Arena. Similar presentations were held in September and October of 2017.
The Rapid City Council recently set a special election date for a vote on increasing the city’s water rate, reports the Rapid City Journal. The special election was set after a petition collected enough signatures to refer the increased water rate to public vote. A total of 5% of registered Rapid City voters are required to sign a petition in order to refer measure to a public vote.
Under the Rapid City Council’s proposal, the water rate would have increased by 9-10 percent in 2018 when compared to 2017. For the following four years, the rate would increase by approximately 8.5 percent. Based on an average use of 5,600 gallons per month, a single-family residence currently pays $30.72 per month. Next year, the same family would pay $33.74 per month.
The city proposed the water rate increase due to the poor functionality of its Mountain View water treatment facility, which has been called “functionally obsolete” by Rapid City’s Public Works Department Director. The facility was constructed in the 1960s, which makes finding replacement parts difficult at best.
To read more news from Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The City of Rapid City is now offering home improvement loans to city residents made possible through the Community Development Block Grant. According to KOTA News, the program will allow homeowners to make improvements to issues related to structure, safety, energy efficiency and accessibility.
The loans are based on income and awarded on a first-come, first serve basis. Recipients may receive loans with no or low monthly payments.
Individuals interested in the loan program can call 605-394-4181 for more information. Learn more about Rapid City on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
While meth is still the number one illicit drug in Rapid City, police officers have been seizing more heroin in the past two to three years, reports KOTA News. Legalization of marijuana has caused drug cartels to move heroin instead. Additionally, physicians began logging opiate prescriptions through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, causing individuals addicted to prescription painkillers to seek other sources.
There has also been an increase in fentanyl in Rapid City. While the drug has nearly the same cost as heroin, it is 40-50 times stronger and can be transported more easily due to its smaller size.
To read more about drug use in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The City of Rapid City is working toward sole ownership of the City School Administration Center, reports KOTA News. Rapid City plans to buy out Rapid City Area Schools which is relocating to the building formerly owned by Black Hills Corporation. The Rapid City YMCA will also occupy space in the former Black Hills Corp building.
The current concern for Rapid City is how to pay for the space, which is estimated at nearly $3 million. Mayor Steve Allender has suggested utilizing Vision Funds, but the purchase may not be in compliance with city ordinances governing the fund.
To read more about Rapid City Area Schools, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The Rapid City Journal recently announced that the final publication date for both the Meade County Times-Tribune and Butte County Post will be November 8. On November 9, the Journal will begin publishing a Northern Hills page.
Following the announcement, the Belle Fourche City Council approved an ordinance to designate the Black Hills Pioneer as the city’s legal newspaper. As the city’s legal newspaper, the Pioneer will publish all of Belle Fourche’s legal notices, which include items such as minutes from governmental meetings and bids for construction projects.
The Black Hills Pioneer and Rapid City Journal are not affiliated.
At its November 6 meeting, the Rapid City Council approved an increase to the city’s water rate, reports KOTA News. The council’s vote will increase the water rate by 43 percent over the next five years. Utility rates in Rapid City have not been increased since 2013. The Rapid City Council approved the measure on a vote of 8-2.
Some residents expressed concern over the ordinance, citing the cost of permits for building hook ups.