April 03, 2020

What's News In The City

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)


The City of Rapid City is providing daily COVID-19 Updates on its website at rcgov.org .  Click on COVID-19 Updates in the red menu bar on the home page.  The page includes daily updates, a City COVID Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link, a link to an online public comment form for City meetings, releases and other helpful information.

**BASKETBALL & TENNIS COURTS TO CLOSE IN CITY PARKS--In his daily press conference Friday afternoon (April 3), Mayor Steve Allender announced the City Parks and Recreation Department is closing basketball and tennis courts in the City's park system along with the New York Street skateboard park.  The closures are in reaction to COVID-19 restrictions against large gatherings of the general public.

            The closures will remain in effect until further notice.

            Included in the closures are tennis courts in fenced areas such as Parkview Drive, North Middle School, Wilson Park and Quarry Park, and basketball courts in fenced areas at Roosevelt Park and Thompson Park and the New York Street skateboard park.  Basketball courts in other City parks will also be closed to public use.  

            The City's parks and bike path remain open for public use and the public is encouraged to practice social distancing protocols in these areas. Park restrooms, playgrounds and shelters are closed for public use. Several portable toilet facilities have been placed along the bike path and some park areas.

            Earlier this week, the Rapid City Area Schools closed their playgrounds as well as Sioux Park Stadium's track and field areas and the adjacent soccer fields to public use.


The downtown library will provide services from the drive-through window only, through April 10. The library facility will be closed to the public to support community efforts to help impede the spread of COVID-19. The drive-thru will be open Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., and Friday – Sunday, 9:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m. to pick up holds, return materials, or obtain a library card. Limited staff will be available to assist the community by phone, email and text. Please contact the library regarding any concerns about item renewals and fines and we will work with our community during this time.

Access ebooks, audiobooks, video, music, magazines and research tools from home using our digital library. A summary of library resources for all ages that can be accessed from home can be found here: https://www.rcgov.org/departments/library/digital-library/library-from-home-7826.html

In coordination with Rapid City Area Schools it has been decided to close the North Branch (10 Van Buren) at General Beadle School until at least April 13 in an effort to minimize outside traffic in the school and prevent the spread of COVID-19.


City officials are encouraging citizens to by use online and phone options to conduct business with City Hall during the Coronavirus/COVID outbreak and to minimize personal visits to City facilities.

            The City advises residents to consider automatic payment of their utility bills and to pay parking tickets online as ways to minimize visits to City Hall.  In addition, questions regarding building permits and other City policies should be done by phone or e-mail to the individual City department.

            City officials provide the following guidance to limit or eliminate visits to City facilities:

**Utility Bills:  Residents are encouraged to use online automatic payment of utility bills by visiting https://selfservice.rcgov.org and clicking on Citizen Self Service on the left hand side for utility bills or by using the City's Utility Billing "Sure-Pay" system.  Call 394-4125 or visit the Water Division's page on the City's website at rcgov.org .  If you visit the self-service portal, you will need to know your account number and customer number to register, both of which can be found on your most recent utility bill.

            In addition, residents are encouraged to mail in their payment or use the night drop box on the west side of the building, which is available any time of the day.

**Parking Tickets:  Residents are encouraged to pay parking tickets online by visiting the 'How To' section at rcgov.org or https://rapidcity.citationportal.com/

**Shut-off Notices:  Residents facing shut-off notices from the City will not have their utility services and solid waste collections suspended, however late fees for non-payment will continue to accrue.

**Permits: If you have questions regarding building permits or air quality permits, contact the City's Community Development Department at 394-4120.  Customers can also e-mail questions and plan information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Staff can also work with customers for online submittals of plans.

**Development Applications: If you have questions regarding development applications, contact the City’s Community Development Department at 394-4120. Customers can also e-mail questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Staff can also work with customers for online submittals of preliminary applications.

**General Business:  Residents with general questions about City services, should call or e-mail the individual City department rather than making a personal visit to the department office.

            Residents are advised and encouraged to visit the City's website at rcgov.org for department and contact information.

**WORK RESUMING AT DISK DRIVE AND HAINES AVENUE: Starting Monday, March 9th, 2020 work will resume on the intersection of Disk Drive and Haines Avenue.  North bound traffic on Haines Avenue will be restricted to a single lane but will continue to be able to turn right onto Disk Dr.  Drivers of larger vehicles may find this turn difficult and may want to consider using an alternate route.  On Disk Drive east of the intersection traffic will be shifted to the westbound lanes.  Two-way traffic will be maintained, but traffic will be restricted to a single lane in either direction.  Signal lights and poles will be replaced in the overnight hours. During that time traffic control for the intersection will be setup as a four-way stop and flaggers will also be directing traffic.  This work is expected to be completed by April 17th, 2020.

**CITY ISSUES MARCH BUILDING REPORT:  The City's Building Services Division issued 223 building permits in March with a total valuation just shy of $22.4 million ($22,399,485).

            The March total compares to the 2019 March totals of 199 permits issued with a total valuation of $18,4 million.  This year's March valuation total is the highest since 2016 and the fourth highest valuation total for the month of March since 2000.

            Leading the month's permit activity was a permit valued at $14 million issued to Red Rock Apartments LLC for a 149-unit apartment complex at 7175 Dunsmore Road. Other large permits were issued to Calvary Baptist Church for a gym addition at 4601 Mount Rushmore Road ($640,000) and Monument Health/Rapid City Regional Hospital for the Tower Expansion Zone Parking Project at 343 Fairmont Boulevard ($453,000).

**STATE, CITY BEGIN NEXT PHASE OF EAST BOULEVARD/EAST NORTH STREET PROJECT: The next stage of the multi-year, multi-phase East Boulevard/East North Street Reconstruction Project began February 17. The project is a joint venture involving the South Dakota Department of Transportation and City of Rapid City and this phase impacts traffic on East Boulevard and Omaha Street throughout the year as different steps of the project are completed.

            The first phase includes the closure of East Boulevard just north of the Omaha Street intersection to St. Louis Street. Beginning February 17, eastbound traffic on Omaha Street is detoured to Maple Street to St. Louis Street to East Boulevard.  Westbound traffic on Omaha Street is detoured to Fifth Street to New York Street to East Boulevard. This portion of the next phase of the project is scheduled from February 17 to May 28. Initially, traffic travelling east and west bound on Omaha will not be impacted.

            Beginning April 1, work will move into Omaha Street at East Boulevard. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

            Simon Contractors of South Dakota is the prime contractor for the project. Their crews are replacing the aging infrastructure including storm sewer, water, pavement and bridge surfacing.

            Access to affected businesses will be maintained during the project. The construction will not affect the bus stops for Rapid Transit Services, however buses will be adjusting their routes to accommodate the construction work.  Drivers are advised to use caution and allow additional time to navigate construction areas and travel detour routes.

**FEBRUARY YOUTH RIDERSHIP UP COMPARED TO SAME TIME LAST YEAR: Youth ridership on the City's Rapid Transit System increased seven percent in February compared to ridership at the same time a year ago.

            A total of 11,403 youth passenger trips were recorded on RapidRide last month, a seven percent increase over February 2019 when 10,648 youth trips were recorded.  For the school year that began in late August, more than 71,500 youth passenger trips have been recorded (71,535).

            Rapid Transit System Manager Megan Gould reminds youth and parents the RapidRide system remains a convenient option for students either on a daily basis, on days when the weather is cold and snowy, or when roads are snow-packed and icy.

            Youth need a bus pass to utilize the RapidRide system.  Bus passes are free and registration can be done online at rapidride.org , clicking on the 'Youth Ride Free' icon at the top left of the page and accessing the red registration button.

            Parents and youth can also pick up a form from the Rapid Transit System office at 333 Sixth Street. The passes are received within five days of submitting the form.           

            RapidRide also provides and publishes maps, material and regular ride schedules.  For more information about the bus passes, contact 394-6631.

CITY PROMOTING REGISTRATION AND APPLICATION PROCESS FOR ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS (ADUs):  After December's City Council approval of an ordinance allowing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Rapid City's residential districts, the City's Community Development Department has developed registration and application information for the public to register their units.

            The registration information includes a form, procedure sheet and checklist and are accessible by visiting the city's website at rcgov.org .  It can be found by clicking on the Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) icon in the Community Bookmark section of the City's home page or by visiting the Community Development Department/Current Planning Division page.

            The ADU ordinance  was created in response to the City's goal of providing more housing options in Rapid City.  The ordinance creates opportunities for development of new small housing units and allows existing ADUs to operate within the City's municipal code. All existing ADUs, in order to be considered legal, must be registered with the City.  A $50 registration fee must accompany the registration materials.

            ADUs are defined as a dwelling with its own cooking, sleeping and sanitation facilities that can be within or attached to a single-family residential building or is located on the property of a larger primary structure and is on a permanent foundation.  ADUs are often called granny flats, mother-in-law units or carriage houses.

CITY BRIDGE CLOSED DUE TO HOLE IN BRIDGE DECK:  City Public Works officials continue to keep the bridge over Rapid Creek on East Main Street North, between Steele Avenue and Brennan Avenue, closed after discovery December 2 of a hole in the bridge deck.  The public is advised to seek an alternative route until further notice. 

            Closure and detour signs have been placed in the area notifying the public of the bridge closure.

            The hole is approximately 3 feet x 1 foot in diameter and is located on the east end of the eastbound lane of the bridge deck.  City Traffic Engineer Steve Frooman indicates a chuck of concrete fell through the bridge, leaving a hole with exposed rebar.  City Public Works Director Dale Tech indicates the bridge is approximately 35 years old and the City had scheduled the bridge for upgrades next year after receiving a Department of Transportation grant earlier this year.                     

            No cause has been determined for what created the hole. Tech says officials will be assessing the condition of the bridge and determining options for repair of the affected area in advance of the permanent upgrades.

RESIDENTS REMINDED OF DOWNTOWN SNOW ALERT TEXTS, PROCESS:  The City of Rapid City reminds residents the City can declare a downtown snow alert under certain conditions and encourages the public to sign up for text notifications for such declarations.

            The City is again partnering with the 211 Helpline Center to notify affected residents and business employees when a downtown snow alert is declared as well as other winter messaging.

            Anyone wishing to receive downtown snow alerts via text message may subscribe by texting 'RCSnow' to 85511.

            In April 2016, the City Council approved an amendment to the City's Snow Removal Policy, authorizing the issuance of a snow alert in the downtown core area under certain conditions.  The downtown snow removal core area is defined as both sides of the street on Ninth Street to the west (this will be extended to West Boulevard as of the first of the year), Fifth Street to the east, Omaha Street to the north and Kansas City Street to the south. 

            To date, there are nearly 800 subscribers to RCSnow.

            When a Snow Removal Alert is declared, any vehicle or trailer parked in the core area from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. may be removed by the police department and the vehicle's owner or operator assessed a fine and charges for towing and storage of the vehicle. 

            The City's Public Works Director can declare a Snow Removal Alert in the downtown core area for snow to be cleared for the safe and orderly flow of traffic and for the safety, health and welfare of the general public.

            If a Downtown Snow Alert is declared, the City will communicate the message through the 211 Helpline Center as well as utilizing traditional media sources and the City's social media platform.

CITY REMINDS RESIDENTS OF SIDEWALK SNOW & ICE REMOVAL POLICIES: City officials are reminding the public it's their responsibility to keep sidewalk areas in front of their home free from snow and ice.

            City Ordinance 12.12.090 states it is the duty of the homeowner to keep the sidewalk(s) fronting or abutting a lot, parcel or plot of ground free from snow and ice at all times.  When it is impossible to take the snow and ice from the walk by reason of it be being frozen to the sidewalk, the owner or occupant shall sprinkle or spread suitable material to prevent the walk from becoming slippery and dangerous to travel. 

            Sidewalks not kept free from snow and ice are declared a nuisance, and upon the failure, neglect or refusal to comply, the owner or occupant may be held in violation.  If the snow and ice is not removed, the City can have the area cleared of snow and ice with the costs assessed to the property. In addition, the City is reminding residents to make arrangements for the clearing of snow and ice on their sidewalks if they plan to leave for an extended period of time, such as during holidays or to leave the area entirely ('snowbirds').

            The snow and ice removal ordinance does not require a written notification to the homeowner of the violation since the ordinance requires sidewalks to be clear of snow and ice at all times.

            "It's a safety issue. As many people know, it doesn't take long for a snow-covered sidewalk to turn to ice with even limited traffic," said Matt Owczarek, Rapid City Code Enforcement Division Supervisor. "Now is the time to make preparations and arrangements for snow removal around the home for the safety of the homeowner and the public.

            "It is the obligation of the homeowner to keep their sidewalks safe for pedestrian travel."

            Owczarek also reminds the public it is unlawful to place snow upon any public sidewalk, street or other public property (City Ordinance 12.12.100). Officials also advise homeowners to place snow in an area that will not result in melting snow to run off onto sidewalks and streets, freeze and create an ice buildup and safety issue.

'YOUTH RIDE FREE' REQUIRES NEW PASSES FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR: Rapid Transit System officials are reminding youth and their parents the 'Youth Ride Free' program requires new bus passes for this school year.

            Rapid City youth will need a new bus pass in order to utilize the RapidRide system.  Bus passes are free, registration can be done online at rapidride.org , clicking on the 'Youth Ride Free' icon at the top left of the page and accessing the red registration button.

            Parents and youth can also pick up a form from the Rapid Transit System office at 333 Sixth Street. The passes are received within five days of submitting the form.  

            RapidRide also provides and publishes maps, material and regular ride schedules.  For more information about the bus passes, contact 394-6631.          

**CITY IMPLEMENTS ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEM FOR PARKING TICKETS:  Among the parking system changes for Rapid City this summer is an online payment system for payment of old and new parking tickets.

            Vehicle owners can go online to rapidcity.citationportal.com and look up their citations by the citation number, license plate number or the VIN number.  Owners can then pay the citations online.  Per City ordinance, parking enforcement can place a boot on vehicles with three outstanding parking tickets or $125 in fines.  Currently, there are 12,000 unpaid parking tickets and about 700 vehicles on the boot list.

            Paying fines online will also avoid citations being sent to collections for non-payment.  Parking tickets are sent to collections after 30 days.

            For more information or questions about the downtown parking changes, visit www.ipsgroupinc.com/rapidcity .

**COUNCIL LEADERSHIP SELECTED; COMMITTEE CHAIRS & ASSIGNMENTS NAMED: Mayor Steve Allender and Council members Lisa Modrick (Ward One), Bill Evans (Ward Two), Greg Strommen (Ward Three), Lance Lehmann (Ward Four) and Darla Drew (Ward Five) were given their oaths of office at the July 1 City Council meeting.  The new Council convened and elected Laura Armstrong (Ward Five) as Council president, and Chad Lewis (Ward Three) as Council vice-president for the 2019-20 term.

Council member Becky Drury will chair the City's Legal and Finance Committee with Council member Darla Drew serving as vice chair.  Other Committee members include Ritchie Nordstrom, Lance Lehmann and Lewis. Council member John Roberts will chair the City's Public Works Committee with Lisa Modrick continuing as committee vice chair.  Other Committee members include Bill Evans, Greg Strommen and Armstrong. Nordstrom will chair the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) Committee, which will be comprised of Council members Drury, Drew, Roberts and Strommen..  Roberts will be the Council's liaison to the City's Zoning Board of Adjustment/Planning Commission.

**PROPER SUMP PUMP DISCHARGE: With the excessive precipitation, City officials remind residents using sump pumps to pump the discharge to their yards or to the curbs/storm water drains and not pump the discharge into their sanitary sewer system.  This includes residents living in the northeast area of the community as City lift stations there are at maximum capacity at the present time.

**CIVIC CENTER WARNS GUESTS OF PURCHASING COUNTERFEIT TICKETS: The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center wants to remind patrons to be wary of purchasing counterfeit tickets for events held at the facility.  Guests are encouraged to only buy tickets from authorized ticket agencies, including www.gotmine.com, by phone at 1-800-GOT-MINE, or in person at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Box Office and Ellsworth Airforce Base Outdoor Recreation.   Purchasing from other sources is done at the buyer's risk.

Only tickets purchased from official outlets guarantee entry to events held at the facility, and individuals attempting to gain admission using fraudulent tickets will not be allowed entry.  If you are unsure of the validity of the tickets being purchased, we encourage you to contact our box office at 1-800-GOT-MINE.

**CITY RESIDENTS RECEIVING LETTERS:  It's not a scam!  Letters sent from the City of Rapid City recently are the latest effort to inform residents about an optional customer service line protection plan offered to homeowners.

            Letters have been sent in August 2018, this past February and in May about the City partnering with Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) to offer the optional coverage.  Residents received an introductory postcard last September about the protection plan and the agreement between the City and SLWA and more detailed letters have been sent in recent months.  With its membership in the National League of Cities, Rapid City is able to offer the service line protection plan, which is administered by SLWA and offers important coverage for interior plumbing and drainage systems, exterior sewer/septic lines and exterior water service lines.   City Public Works Director Dale Tech advises homeowners the postal material they have and are receiving is legitimate.  There is no cost to the City in offering the voluntary coverage plan to homeowners and is being offered because of the City's membership in the National League of Cities.

**KEEPING UPDATED ON CONSTRUCTION: To view City construction public service announcements, click on 'Cone Zone Road Construction & Closure Information' on the City's website.

**FIXING POTHOLES IS JUST A TELEPHONE CALL AWAY:   Potholes can form on Rapid City streets any day of the year.  They are a common occurrence and the result of traffic and weather conditions on road surfaces, and not the result of a poorly-maintained road.

            City officials encourage residents to call the City's Pothole Hotline at 394-4152 to report a pothole for crews to repair.

            "Our crews try to get out and repair them the same day or the next day," according to City Street Superintendent Dale Pfeifle.  "We patrol the streets and work to repair potholes and also rely on the public's help to notify us if they have a pothole in their neighborhood or on a City street they travel."

            Pfeifle says major intersections and roads with considerable daily traffic may receive attention in the very late hours or early morning hours to minimize interaction with traffic.

**SNOW ALERT MESSAGES:  It's never too early to be thinking about snow.  The City and the 211 Helpline Center have partnered to promote information when Snow Removal Alerts are declared in the downtown core area from Fifth to Ninth Streets and Kansas City Street to Omaha.  Text 'RCSnow' to 85511.

**AlertRC & AlertPC TEXT MESSAGE SYSTEM: The City of Rapid City, Pennington County, Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff's Office, Rapid City Fire Department, Pennington County Fire Service, and Pennington County Emergency Management have partnered with the 211 Helpline Center to provide information to the public of important information via text messaging.  Subscribers will receive official notifications regarding incidents that have public impact such as:

--No travel advisories

--Extensive road closure as a result of infrastructure failure such as a water line or gas line break

--Structure fire that creates traffic hazards

--Wild Fire with evacuations and/or closures

--Major accidents with road closures

To subscribe texting 'AlertRC' to 85511 for Rapid City events and 'AlertPC'  to 85511 for Pennington County events.  Text “STOP’ to cancel subscription at any time. There is no cost to sign up for this service, however standard messaging and data rates apply.

**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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