March 03, 2023

What's News In The City & Air Quality Index

The public is urged to stay advised of changing weather conditions, to implement winter safe-driving techniques, to have a survival kit in their vehicle, to implement additional time in their commutes to account for winter road conditions. The public is urged to stay advised of changing weather conditions, to implement winter safe-driving techniques, to have a survival kit in their vehicle, to implement additional time in their commutes to account for winter road conditions. (City Photo)

**AIR QUALITY INDEX:

Check out this link regarding the current air quality conditions in Rapid City.

Click to see the current Air Quality Index

**CITY LAUNCHES 'REPORT A PROBLEM' LINK TO REPORT ISSUES WITH LIGHTS, POTHOLES, ROADS: The City’s Public Works Department has launched a new “Report A Problem” link to the City’s website, providing an opportunity for the public to report road or street-related issues they encounter.

            The link: https://bit.ly/RapidCityLightsAndPotholes is an easy access point for the public to report non-emergency issues such as non-working street lights, potholes, traffic signs or signals that need attention, and other issues related to roads or streets.  The link invites the visitor to complete an online form describing the concern, the location of the problem, when the problem was noticed and contact information. The form can also be accessed at the City’s website rcgov.org by clicking on the ‘Government’ tab and then clicking on City Online Forms for the ‘Non-Emergency Traffic Safety Concern’ entry.

           The public can also call the Traffic Operations Division at 605-394-4118.

           City Public Works Executive Coordinator Shannon Truax says the public has provided great assistance to the city on reporting issues in the past, utilizing the City’s Pothole Hotline and contacting the City’s Traffic Division about non-working street lights.

           “This new link will provide the public and the City with a new tool to work together in addressing issues in a quicker and more efficient manner,” Truax said.

           Truax said the public answered the City’s call for assistance two years ago and has made hundreds of calls regarding non-working street lights. The public also utilizes the City’s Pothole Hotline to report road issues.

           “We really appreciate the public’s response and continued communication with the City on reporting issues they see with street lights, potholes and other issues,” said Truax. “Our crews can’t be everywhere at all times and this is a clear case of the public serving an important mission, as a collective second set of eyes to help us in keeping our streets and neighborhoods lit and getting issues with our roads and traffic lights addressed.”

STREET LIGHTS

          Since May 2021 when the City first called for the public’s help in reporting issues with street lights, more than 750 calls have been received by the City’s Traffic Operations Division, including more than 450 calls in 2022.

           Most of the citizen calls involved street light outages or malfunctions.

           “Some of the callers indicate they’ve noticed a problem for days or weeks.  If they see a problem, call the City and our crews can get it checked out and addressed right away,” said Truax, noting a malfunctioning or inoperative street light can have a safety impact in the affected area.

           Callers should provide a close or exact location of the street light.  Truax says the light poles display a four or five-digit number a few feet off the ground.  The pole number or the block of the street with the malfunctioning light will allow for a more immediate response from City crews. 

POTHOLES

           Truax said the public can use the new “Report A Problem” link to share information about potholes.  For several years, the public has accessed the Pothole Hotline at 605-394-4152 to report thousands of pothole locations.  Last year, Truax said City Street Division crews repaired more than 3,000 potholes, many called in by residents.

          For both non-working street lights and potholes, Truax said once a call is received from the public, a crew member is sent to the affected area, often within a day, to assess the concern and begin corrective action.

**PARKS & REC SEEKS SEASONAL HELP IN MANY AREAS: As the calendar flips to February and cold temperatures and snow grip the region, some City officials are already thinking about the summer – with visions of pools filled with swimmers, plots with blooming flowers, golf courses with linksters and park areas with plush green grass.

            The City’s Parks and Recreation Department is putting out the early call this week, seeking to fill dozens of seasonal positions at the City’s pools, golf courses and parks. There are positions available for youth as young as 14 and 15 years of age and older applicants seeking seasonal employment in a variety of positions.

            The Parks Division has numerous seasonal openings for landscape maintenance workers and mowers; greenhouse workers; park laborers; cemetery maintenance, custodial, forestry and irrigation workers.  The Recreation Division is seeking applicants for lifeguards, personal trainers, customer service, landscape maintenance and facility maintenance as well as golf course workers including golf cart washers, golf course maintenance, clubhouse cashier, starter shack attendant and beverage cart attendant.

            "We still have a few months of winter yet, but spring and summer will be here soon. We are seeking dozens of workers that provide valuable assistance in getting our parks, golf courses and pools ready and maintained," said Doug Lowe, City Recreation Division Director.  "These seasonal positions are great first-job opportunities as well as great positions for workers with various levels of experience and skills.  We offer competitive wages and the job experiences are rewarding."

            Lifeguards are needed for City pools at Horace Mann, Parkview, Jimmy Hilton and Rapid City Swim Center pools.  Applicants must have an American Red Cross Lifeguard with Waterpark certification, and be at least 15 years old by the end date of certification class.  Job duties include monitoring pool safety, conducting pool patrols and enforcing pool rules to prevent accidents, ability to respond to emergency situations, provide first aid and assist with swim lessons.

            "Lifeguarding is a great summer job and plus it provides an opportunity for other positions including management within our organization,” said Recreation Specialist Teaghan Berkey.  “We are promoting our lifeguard certification classes in March, April and May so there’s great opportunities to serve as a City lifeguard this summer.”

            Berkey encourages those interested in becoming lifeguards to register for classes at https://rapidcity.activityreg.com/selectactivity_t2.wcs  or call the Roosevelt Swim Center with questions.  The City is also seeking to fill positions for Swim Center front desk and customer service work and applicants must by age 14 or older by the date of hire.  The positions include selling passes, working concessions and resolving questions or issues raised by patrons.

            Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online at www.rcgov.org .  For more information, contact Parks and Recreation at 394-4175 or the Roosevelt Swim Center at 394-5223.

**CITY'S PARKS & RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR VACANT POSITION: 

The City is seeking to fill one vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

            The board vacancy is to complete the final year of a three-year term set to expire in December with possible reappointment for a new three-year term.  Interested citizens are encouraged to apply by submitting a Citizen Interest Application online. Application deadline is March 17 at 5:00 p.m.  Questions can be directed to the Mayor’s Office at 605-394-4110.  More information can be found on the Parks and Recreation Department and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board web pages on the City’s website at www.rcgov.org .

            The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board initiates, reviews and makes recommendations for ordinances, policies and rules governing the use of the City’s public parks, swimming pools and other facilities including the golf courses.  Board members also assist in making recommendations of appointments to the Urban Forestry Board, Urban Wildlife Committee, and the Beautification Committee.

            Members must be a resident of Rapid City and a registered voter.  Board meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Parks and Recreation administrative offices.  Interested persons should have a strong commitment to public service and to the mission of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.  Appointments are recommended by the mayor and confirmed by the Rapid City Council.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

**WORK ON DOWNTOWN PARKING STRUCTURE UNDERWAY:  Work continues on the first phase of renovations to the downtown parking structure adjacent to Main Street Square. 

           Continued work by contractors focuses on the south side of the first and second floors of the downtown parking structure.  The east stair tower accessed from Fifth Street remains closed for reconstruction.  Pedestrian access to the upper levels of the parking structure is available by using the west stair tower from the Sixth Street access.

            Public parking on the first floor of the structure continues to be accessed from the Fifth Street entrance.  Access to leased and upper-level parking is available from the Sixth Street entrance. 

            City officials remind the public they should expect periodic detours within the parking structure during this first phase and throughout much of the renovation process.  Drivers are advised to reduce speed and use caution around the work areas.

            The downtown parking structure renovation project will occur in multiple phases and is estimated for completion in late fall.  The project includes needed repairs and renovations aimed at improving the structural integrity of the parking structure and improving the ramp’s stairwells

            Updates on the project will be provided on the City’s website at https://www.rcgov.org/news/parking-structure-construction-status-11420.html

            SECO Construction is the contractor on the project.  Parking questions can be directed to City Parking Operations Manager Anna Gilligan at the parking hotline at 605-394-6098.  Questions regarding the construction project can be directed to SECO Construction at 605-390-3634.

**SOLID YOUTH RIDERSHIP NUMBERS RECORDED IN FEBRUARY:  Youth ridership on the City’s Rapid Transit System spiked sharply in February over the same month a year ago.

            A total of 4,424 youth passenger trips were recorded in February, a 15 percent increase over the number of youth riders recorded in February 2022 (3,768) and a 19 percent jump over the youth numbers in February 2021 (3,577). Last month’s numbers over 23 days of operation were slightly lower than January’s youth ridership numbers over 25 days of operation (4,474).

            Since this school year began, youth ridership for the six-month period from September through February totals 25,511 youth trips, a major increase compared to the 22,098 trips recorded for the same period in the 2021-22 school year and 17,643 youth trips in the 2020-21 school year.

           The youth ridership numbers are part of the City’s ‘Youth Ride Free’ program, which was started in the summer of 2016.

           “We continue to see great youth ridership numbers,” said Megan Gould-Stabile, Rapid Transit System manager.  “We had a cold and snowy stretch last month. Our buses provide a great alternative to get to school, activities and around town when the school car won’t start or roads are icy and snow-packed.”

            For more information about the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program, contact RTS at 605-394-6631.

**CITY'S 2022 SALES TAX RECEIPTS HOLD STEADY WITH INFLATION, SET RECORD HIGH:  Rapid City’s sales tax receipts for 2022 totaled more than $38.4 million, a record for annual sales tax receipts in the community.  The total was 6.46% higher than the previous record of just over $36 million in 2021.

December’s sales tax receipts totaled more than $3.5 million ($3,562,299), down slightly from the  $3.6 million in sales tax receipts recorded in December 2021.  City officials point to the month’s winter storm and cold weather as factors in the slight decrease.

City officials say the 6.46% increase in sales tax receipts compares to the nation’s inflation rate for 2022 of 6.5%. The Consumer Price Index prices in the Midwest Region for December were up 6.0 percent over the year.

“The overall sales tax receipts hit a record high for the year and held steady with the increases in inflation,” said interim City Finance Director Tracy Davis. “The cold snap and winter weather in December appear to have impacted activity for the month.”

The City surpassed the $3 million mark in sales tax receipts in nine of the 12 months in 2022.

**CITY ISSUES JANUARY BUILDING PERMIT REPORT:  The City’s Building Services Division issued 201 building permits in January with a combined valuation total of more than $30.6 million.

            The January total is an increase over the 164 permits issued in January 2022 and last month’s valuation total is more than double the January 2022 valuation total of $14.1 million.

            The City issued three permits with a valuation total over $1 million each.  Top permits last month were issued to trustee Jean McGee with Scull Construction as contractor for the 90-room Clubhouse Hotel and Suites at 1920 Hope Court with a permit valuation of $16.7 million ($16,711,881); a permit valued at more than $2.2 million ($2,284,000) issued to Monument Health Rapid City Hospital with Rangel Construction Company as contractor for fourth floor facility alterations at 640 Flormann Street; and a permit valued at $1.2 million issued to Moyle Petroleum Company with RCS Construction as contractor for a Common Cents Health facility at 1624 Discovery Circle.

            In 2022, the City issued 2,866 building permits with a valuation total for the year of more than $364.6 million, the second-highest year for building permit valuation in the community’s history.

**CITY HIRES UNITED WAY'S JAMIE TOENNIES TO MANAGE NEW GRANTS DIVISION:  Mayor Steve Allender announced today Jamie Toennies has been named manager of the City’s new grants division. 

            Toennies has served as director of the United Way of the Black Hills since 2016.  She has more than 18 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations, including museums, YMCA, and in United Ways. 

            “We are excited to welcome Jamie as the manager of our new grants division,” said Allender.  “The grants division will provide a more coordinated effort in the administration of grants and is being developed to identify specific needs as well as research and apply for grants that can assist and support City operations and services.  Jamie’s extensive experience with nonprofit organizations, including her well-respected work with the United Way of the Black Hills, will serve the City and its citizens well with this needed effort.”

            Toennies will begin her position in early February.  The grants division will be part of the City’s Finance Department under the direction of finance director Tracy Davis.

            “We look forward to working with Jamie as she develops the new grants division and explores opportunities for funding and resources that will assist the City in providing services and support for our growing community,” said City Finance Director Tracy Davis.

            Toennies is excited about joining the City of Rapid City and the challenges of the new grants division.

            “Over the past six and a half years, it has been my honor to work with our local partners including the City, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, to find long-term solutions to our community’s greatest needs,” said Toennies.  “I can’t wait to continue that work with the City to ensure Rapid City continues to be an amazing place for our residents and visitors.”

            Allender says the grants division is an important addition to the City in responding to the community’s current and anticipated growth.

            “As Rapid City continues to grow, there will be an increased demand on essential services and developing and growing certain functions to respond to the growth,” said Allender. “We need to be in position to search, apply for and obtain funding that will assist in those efforts.  We won’t be applying for every grant that comes along, but we want people in place that can search out possible funding sources that make sense and will assist in achieving the city’s comprehensive plan for the future.”

            Toennies is a native of Tampa Bay and has degrees from South Dakota Mines and the University of Iowa..

**PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO CHECK OUT 'PENNINGTON OUTDOORS!':  Looking for details on recreational opportunities in Rapid City and Pennington County? Residents and visitors to the area have a quick tool to access information through an interactive map that helps users explore local recreational facilities and opportunities.

            The site, Pennington Outdoors!, was launched last year by the City’s Geographic Information (GIS) Division, can be accessed at rapidmap.org and is one of many valuable map and informational tools available on the GIS Division page which includes access to City and County voting precincts, the City's air quality zone, downtown parking map, the City's major street plan and much more.

            Pennington Outdoors! site users can zoom in, zoom out or pan across a map to view different park facilities; Rapid City, Black Hills National Forest and Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands trail systems; location of statues; the Rapid City bike path; park amenities and recreational sites in Pennington County and the communities of Rapid City, Box Elder, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Wall, Hill City, Keystone, New Underwood, Wasta and Quinn. Once a desired site is visible, users can click on it using the 'identity' tool to see details, website and a photo associated with the recreation site.

            As an example, clicking on Wilson Park will yield information indicating the Park includes a flowering garden, gazebo, ice skating area, tennis courts, playground, restrooms, basketball court and other amenities.  Users can easily identify the location of the Park. Clicking on Robbinsdale Park will yield information including locations of the BMX Track, several baseball fields, location of picnic shelters, playgrounds, restrooms and walking paths.

            Users wanting to know the location of specific downtown and area statues can access the site for the actual location

            The City's GIS Division provides mapping services, data and technical support to the public as well as staffs of City and County government. the GIS Division page which includes access to City and County voting precincts, the City's air quality zone, downtown parking map, the City's major street plan. RapidMap services offers information on land parcels, aerial photos, address points and other map information.  Survey Points provides information on area survey points.

**CITY REMINDS RESIDENTS OF UTILITY RATE RELIEF PROGRAM: Rapid City utility customers can apply for a reduction of their monthly utility charges through a decade-long program administered by the City's Public Works Department.

            The program, entitled the Utility Rate Relief Program, is designed to lower the monthly utility expense for senior citizens and people with disabilities. The program recently underwent an update, to make the qualification process more straightforward.

            Under the City's updated Utility Rate Relief Program, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria: they must be 65 or older or disabled as defined by the Social Security Act; they must fall below the “very low income” limit criteria outlined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Rapid City Metro Area; the applicant must be the person who is responsible for payment of the utility bill directly to the City; the property must be the applicant’s primary residence.

If qualified, the rates charged for utility services billed to the applicant will be reduced by 25 percent for a period of two years or until the renewal date established by the Public Works Director.  New applications are accepted at any time, but renewal requests must be received by April 30, 2021 in order for current participants to remain on the program.

            For more information and an application, visit https://www.rcgov.org/departments/public-works/water-division/urr-587.html or call the City's Public Works Department at 394-4165.

**PUBLIC REMINDED TO SIGN UP FOR COLLECTION ALERTS: Officials with the City's Solid Waste Division remind residents to sign up for alerts about curbside collections and adjustments in pickups due to holidays and weather.

            "We've had great response since launching our website back in January," said Jancie Knight, Solid Waste community outreach coordinator.  "The site is an excellent way to receive alerts and reminders on trash collections and other updates."

            Knight says residents can visit www.rapidcityrecycles.org to register in the 'Stay Informed' section.  Other informational items on the page include a color-coded map of the city to determine specific curbside pickup days, where to dispose of specific items, and hours and contact information.

**GOT A POTHOLE? CALL THE POTHOLE HOTLINE: The City Street Department's pothole patching crews are at it as the calendar flips toward summer.  If you see a pothole that needs to be fixed, call the Pothole Hotline at 394-4152 and provide a location and crews will be on it quickly.

**CONSTRUCTION MAP FEATURE ALLOWS DRIVERS TO STAY UPDATED ON PROJECTS: To stay updated on local construction projects, City officials remind the public they can utilize a newly-launched road construction site feature on the City's website which provides detailed site, map and project information.

            The City's Geographic Information System (GIS) Division launched the 'Rapid City Road Construction Site' link on the GIS page last month, accessed by visiting rapidmap.org and clicking on the orange construction barrel. It is also available by clicking on 'Road Construction Updates' on the City's home page at rcgov.org .  Once on the site, users can click on a highlighted segment and get additional information such as the project's location, the start date and estimated end date of the project, listing of the contractor and other useful information.  Each segment on the map will also have the public service announcement attached to it and there will be a link provided for State Department of Transportation projects.

            The site will be updated as active projects begin and sites will remain on the map through the duration of the specific projects.

            With local construction season well underway, City officials are also reminding drivers to slow down and use caution when driving near and through all road construction areas, allow additional time to reach their destinations and to consider alternate routes.

**DIGITAL MEDIA POLICY: The City is advising the public of a requirement for digital media material for presentations at City Council and City Committee meetings.  Effective May 1, 2017, digital media submissions must be provided at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting where the material will be presented. In addition, no digital media containing music will be accepted.

 "This new guideline will allow for more efficient presentation of the item, ensuring there are no compatibility or virus issues with the item and the City's display system, as well as providing sufficient time for City staff to contact individuals for any changes that may be needed to the item prior to the meeting," said Darrell Shoemaker, City Communications Coordinator.  "Too often, items are brought in a few moments before the start of a meeting, even after the meeting has started, and there is not sufficient time to ensure compatibility with our system, make sure there are no viruses, problems or issues with the item and for effective presentation of the item."

Digital media items can be submitted to the appropriate department division at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.  For Monday's Council meetings, the item should be provided no later than Friday at 5 p.m.    The City reserves the right to reject any items for presentation due to digital compatibility issues or content appropriateness.

**CITY HALL KIOSK WELCOMES VISITORS:  A kiosk in the lobby of the City/School Administration Center welcomes visitors.  There are four blocks of information, including a block for daily meetings and locations; a block explaining the location of meetings rooms in the building; a 'what am I looking for' block that provides a brief explanation of specific offices and their missions; and a date/time/temperature block.

 

 

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