May 31, 2024

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 HOSTING TOWN HALL MEETING ON VISION FUND JUNE 5:  The City’s Vision Fund will be the focus of a town hall meeting hosted by Rapid City officials next Wednesday (June 5) at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall.

            The meeting is open to the public and will include a presentation from Mayor Jason Salamun, followed by a public question and answer period.  The meeting will be streamed live over the City’s social media platform.

             On April 1, Mayor Jason Salamun presented a plan for consideration to the City Council involving proposed recommendations for the Vision Fund.  A public open house was also held April 29 at City Hall on the mayor’s recommendations.  In addition, an ordinance amendment updating the process for approving expenditures from the City’s Capital Improvement and Vision Fund has been discussed at five sessions of the City Council and the City’s Legal and Finance Committee since April 1. 

              The mayor’s recommendations for the Vision Fund include establishing a five-year Vision Fund budget cycle for 2025-2029 and dividing the Vision Fund resources over the five-year period into four distinct areas:

  • Community projects including citizen-recommended projects and development of a non-profit endowment to help non-profit capital projects;
  • Economic development;
  • Comprehensive plan priority projects; and
  • Formation of a strategic growth revolving fund for investment in proactive development in strategic areas.

           The City Council voted to continue the second reading of the ordinance amendment to the June 17 City Council meeting.

**CITY'S AQUATICS DIVISION HOSTING OUTDOOR FITNESS CLASSES:  Are you looking to get fit or stay fit this summer? An area dedicated to fitness between the Roosevelt Swim Center and Ice Arena is the place for you!

            ‘Join Us On The FitLot’ is a series of free outdoor fitness classes open to the public and hosted by the Rapid City Aquatics Division.  The introductory class is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 a.m.-7:15 a.m. with a series of weekday classes scheduled from June 17-August 23 at 6:30 a.m.-7:15 a.m.  The classes will be held at the AARP FitLot Fitness Park located in the field between the Swim Center and Ice Arena at 125 Waterloo Street.

            Participants need to sign up for the introductory class separate from the series at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/rapid-city-sd-roosevelt-park-31877258683

            Class emphasis includes cardio and endurance; bodyweight exercises; strength training; and FitLot Coach.  FitLot Resistance opportunities include elliptical, stair stepper, chest press, hand cycle and resistance bands.

            Swim Center Exercise Coordinator Sue Crossman is coordinating the sessions, which will be low-impact workouts for any level and supervised by FitLot Coaches who are “NASM Certified Personal Trainers”

        “These sessions are a great way to introduce participants to the FitLot and to low-impact workouts,” said Crossman.  “The FitLot provides an outdoor atmosphere for a great fitness opportunity for people of any age and skill level.

            “We encourage participants to commit to at least three days per week but are free to attend all five days, Monday-Friday.”

            The AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness park was dedicated in August 2019.

            Call the Roosevelt Swim Center at 605-394-5223 with questions.

**DEADLINE LOOMS TO REGISTER FOR VOLLEYBALL LEAGUES:  The registration deadline is fast approaching for Summer Sand Volleyball and Summer Women’s Indoor Volleyball Leagues hosted by the City’s Recreation Division.

            Deadline to register is next Wednesday, June 5.  Both leagues offer a six-week season of matches followed by a tournament.  All leagues will start play the week of June 10.

            The Summer Sand Volleyball League matches will be held at the Founders Park Sand Volleyball Courts.  The Women's Indoor Volleyball League matches will be held at South Community Gym. 

            The Summer Sand Volleyball Leagues include coed and women's leagues and are separated into various divisions, including Monday doubles and 4’s matches, Tuesday and Thursday coed matches  and Wednesday women’s league play.  Team registration fee is $110 for all leagues except doubles division, which is $50 per team. 

             Indoor volleyball will include divisions based on levels of experience.  Team registration fee is $145. Matches are played on Wednesdays.

            Teams can register online at the Parks and Rec page at rcgov.org,  Rapid City Department of Parks and Recreation (activityreg.com) or visit the Swim Center at 125 Waterloo Street or the Parks and Rec Office at 515 West Boulevard.  For more information, contact Matt Brandhagen at 415-0226 or 394-5223 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

**CITY EXTENDS DEADLINE TO FILL SEVERAL POSITIONS ON BUILDING BOARD OF APPEALS: The City is extending the deadline to file applications for eight industry vacancies on the City’s Building Board of Appeals.  There are currently two mechanical, two electrical, two plumbing and two contactor vacancies on the board.  The City is looking to fill the vacancies as soon as possible.

            Applicants are advised to complete a Citizen Interest Application found on the City’s website at https://www.rcgov.org/28-citizen-interest-application-mayor-s-office/4-citizen-interest-appliction.html .  Application deadline is Friday, June 21 at 4 p.m.

            The Building Board of Appeals is a 10-member advisory board comprised of equal representation from each of the following industries: electrical, plumbing, engineering, contracting and mechanical.  Members, each an expert in his or her field of work, review proposed ordinance amendments to Rapid City Municipal Code: Chapter 15; reviews and recommends changes to the City’s Building Code; hears complaints against Rapid City contractors; appeals to decisions of the City Building Official; and acts as the City’s licensing board. 

            Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 a.m. as necessary.

            For more information about the vacancies or the Building Board of Appeals, contact the City’s Community Development Department at 605-394-4120.

**CITY REC DIVISION HOSTING SECOND ANNUAL CARDBOARD BOAT RACES JUNE 8: In one month, the Roosevelt Swim Center’s 50-meter pool will once again be filled with water, youngsters and cardboard!

            Yes, cardboard!

            The City’s Parks and Recreation Department will host the second annual Cardboard Boat Races Saturday, June 8 at the 50-meter outdoor pool at the Roosevelt Swim Center. Boat check-ins are at 9 a.m. with the boat launch slated from 9:30-11 a.m.

            Registration deadline for two-person teams is June 2 and the racing event is open to team members between six and 13 years of age.  A team’s land crew can consist of two adults who can assist with getting the boat in the water and helping the participants in the boat.  No push-offs will be allowed.

            There is no entry fee for teams and the event is open to the public.  Participants are asked to wear bathing suits and shorts, no denim.

            “We had great interest for last year’s inaugural event and we’re very excited to be hosting the cardboard races again this year,” said Lindsey Myers, City Parks special events coordinator.  “We hope several teams get registered and work together over the next few weeks on building their cardboard boats and getting them ready to race.  It should be a fun experience.”

            Teams will vie for trophies in fastest boat, best design and Titanic (most spectacular sinking) award categories. Teams are encouraged to dress in the theme of their boats. Boats will race one full length of the Swim Center’s 50-meter pool and the teams must begin and finish the race with the two-person crew intact.  Boats must be made of only cardboard and duct tape.  Boats can be propelled with the use of arms or cardboard paddles.

            Rules and regulations are available at https://rapidcity.activityreg.com  .

**CITY TRENCHING BOARD HOSTING SAFETY TRAINING SESSIONS: The Rapid City Trenching Board and Public Works Department are offering trench safety training sessions to be held free of charge on June 4 at City Hall in the Circle of Friends Community Room.  Two sessions are scheduled, a morning class starting at 8 a.m. and an afternoon class starting at 12:30 p.m.

The classes are open to both City staff and the public.

            The course, entitled ‘Excavation Safety Training for Competent Persons’ will include numerous training topics, including:

  • Introduction to OSHA
  • General requirements and Competent Person responsibilities
  • Hazards associated with trenching and excavation
  • Soil classification
  • Requirements for protective systems
  • Sloping and benching
  • Shielding (Trench Boxes)
  • Aluminum hydraulic shoring
  • Manufactured tabulated data
  • Site specific engineering
  • Industry Practices

“This is a good opportunity to ensure our teams are empowered to be safe when working in trenching operations,” said Interim Assistant Public Works Director Shannon Truax.  “OSHA requirements are industry best-practices which provide protections for our crews, contractors and the public. This training will educate City staff and private sector employees what is required to be in compliance with OSHA regulations.”

The Excavation Safety Training for Competent Persons is designed to meet OSHA standard 1926 Subpart P requirements for excavation.

The public can register for the safety training session by emailing attendee name, company affiliation and preference for morning or afternoon session to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Direct questions to 605-394-4165.

**CITY PARKS & REC AGAIN HOSTING HYDRANT BLOCK PARTIES: After a series of events last summer in which everyone got drenched, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will again host the ‘Hydrant Block Parties’ this summer.

             The first in a series of three hydrant block parties will be held Wednesday, June 12 at Sioux Park from 1-3 p.m.  Additional hydrant parties are scheduled for College Park on July 10 from 1-3 p.m. and the Roosevelt Swim Center parking lot on August 14 from 1-3 p.m.

            The hydrant parties are free and open to all ages with fire department staff turning on the fire truck hoses to get participants wet.

              The parties include lots of water, games and fun!  Staff from the Rapid City Fire Department, Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City Public Library, Solid Waste Division and Parks and Rec will be participating. 

            “Last summer was so much fun. Everyone got wet!” said Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Lindsey Myers.  “It was a great time with lots of laughter, smiles and noise, and that was just from the adults behind the water hoses and the squirt guns.

            “We’re again encouraging kids to bring their squirt guns and other water toys from home.  As the summer warms up, these parties will be a great way to cool off.”

            In case of inclement weather, the event will be canceled.  Check for updates on the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Facebook page.

**CITY'S SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE EXPANDS ANNUAL EARTH DAY TRAIL CHALLENGE: For a fourth consecutive year, the Rapid City Sustainability Committee is hosting the Earth Day Trail Challenge as a way to maintain and continue the energy and enthusiasm of Earth Day in the local community.

             This year’s Earth Day Trail Challenge has been expanded, beginning Monday to celebrate Earth Day, and continuing this year through the end of June.

            The Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge tasks the public to hike each of three local trails: Lower Dinosaur Loop on the Skyline Wilderness Trail System, Lower Rim Black on the Hansen-Larson Memorial Trail System and Nature Trail at the Outdoor Campus West. 

             Along each trail, hikers will find a Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge sign and they are asked to take a selfie with the sign in the photo.  Hikers have until June 30 to complete the three-hike challenge. They can show the selfies and pick up a Rapid City Earth Day pin at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ Outdoor Campus West, 4130 Adventure Trail, during normal business hours through June 30.

             “We’ve been impressed at the growing interest in the Earth Day Trail Challenge and wanted to expand it to continue through June this year,” said Rapid City Sustainability Committee member Ria Hannon.  “Last year’s Challenge was impacted because it was so wet in May, which impacted the condition of the trails and no one could really hike.  So we extended through June and there was a really positive response. We’ve decided to permanently extend the Challenge into June moving forward.”

            Challenge participants are also encouraged to clean up trash they may encounter on the trails.

           “The trail challenge encourages people to get out and enjoy our beautiful community this spring and also to help keep these areas clean and beautiful by picking up trash as they hike,” said Lysann Zeller of the Sustainability Committee.

           Hannon says the Earth Day Trail Challenge is a win-win opportunity.

            “The goal of the trail challenge is to hike all three trails, find the sign, take a selfie with it, and then head into the Outdoor Campus during their business hours and show your selfies to get a pin,” said Ria Hannon, also a member of the City’s Sustainability Committee. “And it helps keep our trails clean. If you see any trash, pack it out.”

            For more information and links to the trail maps, visit: https://www.rapidcitysustainability.com/trailchallenge .

**CANDIDATES, PUBLIC & BUSINESSES REMINDED OF CAMPAIGN SIGNAGE REQUIREMENTS: With the June legislative primary and school board elections just over six weeks away, campaign signs are beginning to pop up in neighborhood yards and business frontage areas.  Candidate signage is as much a part of the traditional election season as door-to-door visits, political literature and stump speeches.

            However, with the appearance of campaign signs comes the first citizen complaints.

            City code enforcement officials are already fielding citizen complaints about the improper placement of campaign signs.  Officials remind the public it is unlawful to place signs in public rights-of-way or medians, including the boulevard areas of homes, public rights-of-way along streets and railroad areas, City parks and areas that can block the sight of traffic.

           Examples of prohibited signage in the public rights-of-way areas include political, real estate, roofing and siding company signage, banquet and church signage, even signs promoting rummage sales and businesses.  Such signage is permitted on the property owner's yard excluding the boulevard right-of-way. City ordinance 17.50.080 prohibits signs in public rights-of-way, and any signs placed in the right-of-way are subject to immediate removal. 

            Temporary political signs are allowed so long as they are not located within the public right of way, do not block a required sight triangle or impede traffic, or block or occupy a required parking stall or parking area.  Temporary political signs are limited to 32 total square feet and a maximum height of eight feet.

            The area in front of a property from and including the sidewalk to the curb is public right-of-way.  Signs are not allowed in this area.  Signs can be placed in a yard, or in front of a building.

            The South Dakota Department of Transportation also reminds the public that political campaign and ballot-issue signs cannot be placed on state highway rights of way.  The use of right of way is reserved for official highway signage.  The State DOT indicates all signs in the right of way not required for traffic control are prohibited and will be removed by SDDOT crews and DOT staff will attempt to contact the owner of the signs to pick them up.

**CITY PARKS AND RECREATION ISSUES 2024 ONLINE SUMMER PROGRAM GUIDE:  The Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department this week has posted its annual Summer Program Guide, filled with information on everything from classes and camps, special events and pool hours, to how to reserve park shelters and sign up for various leagues.

           With warmer and nicer weather, many people are turning their thoughts to spring and summer activities.  The City’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Summer Program Guide provides a one-stop guide for summer fun.

            The guide can be accessed online at the Department’s page on the City’s website at www.rcgov.org and clicking on ‘Recreation Program Guide’. The Summer Program Guide provides information on numerous activities, camps, classes and events hosted and sponsored by the city this summer.  Online visitors can click for information on the various divisions including aquatics, golf, parks, recreation, tennis and the Roosevelt Ice Arena. Visitors are also able to register for various programs and activities online.

            View the Summer Guide here: https://www.rcgov.org/.../parks.../parks-program-guide.html.

            “The Guide is a an easy online resource tool to check out what’s happening with Parks and Rec this spring and summer,” said Lindsey Myers of the Parks and Recreation Department.  “It’s a way to find out and learn more about programs.  Spots can fill up quickly for our activities.

“The Guide also provides great information about special events and activities going on this summer as well as important information about our City's pools, golf courses, and park shelters.  It’s a helpful online resource for visitors to obtain activity and facility information and to register for classes, programs and activities.”

            For more information, contact the Rapid City Department of Parks and Recreation at 394-5223.

**RAPID CITY RANKS HIGH AMONGST HAPPIEST PLACES TO LIVE:  Rapid City and Sioux Falls are ranked among the nation’s happiest cities to live in the nation in a report released this week by WalletHub.

         Rapid City ranked 36th among the top 182 cities referenced in the report.  Sioux Falls ranked 11th.  According to WalletHub, the happiest city in America is Fremont, CA followed in the top five by Overland Park, KS, San Jose, CA, Madison, WI and Irvine, CA.  WalletHub compared 182 of the largest cities, including the 150 most populated US cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state, across three key dimensions: emotional/physical well-being, income/employment and community/environment.

        Rapid City was among the top six cities for happiest place to live in the region listed in the report with all six ranking in the top 20 percent of the listing: Sioux Falls (11th), Minneapolis (13th), Fargo, ND (16th), Lincoln, NE (19th), Bismarck, ND (20th) and Rapid City (36th).  Other regional cities in the 182-city rankings included Omaha, NE (41st), St. Paul, MN (44th), Cedar Rapids, IA (45th), Missoula, MT (70th), Des Moines, IA (72nd), Billings, MT (82nd) and Casper, WY (153rd).

       “The WalletHub reports confirms what many people who live and visit here have known and sometimes take for granted. Rapid City is a great place to live You can find a lot of happiness here,” said Mayor Jason Salamun.  “Rapid City is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Rapid City and the Black Hills have many quality of life experiences and opportunities for residents and visitors alike.  And visitors often complement us on how friendly and helpful we are.”

       Rapid City consistently ranks high in WalletHub reports.  Last May, Rapid City ranked as the fifth best place in the nation for summer jobs.

      WalletHub used 29 indicators of happiness to determine the happiest places to live rankings, ranging from income-growth rate to average leisure time spent per day to depression rate. Among the indicators: unemployment rate, commute time, job satisfaction, poverty rate, physical-health and mental health factors, weather, acres of parkland, separation and divorce rates, hate-crime incidents, depression rates among others.

View the report at https://wallethub.com/edu/happiest-places-to-live/32619 .

**CONTRACTORS REMINDED OF REVISIONS TO CERTAIN LICENSE RENEWAL DATES: City Public Works officials are reminding contractors of recent revisions in the ordinance governing the annual renewal date for City sewer/ water and trenching licenses.

          The Rapid City Council last month approved the ordinance revision, responding to changes made by the State Plumbing Commission.

          Earlier this year, the State Plumbing Commission updated the renewal date of state sewer water licenses, changing the dates required for annual license renewals from December 31 to June 30.  The City’s Trenching Board recommended an ordinance change, adjusting the renewal date for City sewer/water and trenching licenses from February 28 to August 31.

          “By adjusting our current renewal date to August 31, we better align with the state’s licensing,” said Interim Assistant Public Works Director Shannon Truax.  “Any sewer-water or trenching license that was scheduled to expire on February 28 is automatically extended to August 31.”

         License holders were notified by email of the change last month and will be sent a reminder email in July.

          “We encourage anyone who has a license to keep their email updated with us so that they don’t miss any important notices about licensing,” Truax said. 

        Contractors doing sewer/water installation work in Rapid City are required to be licensed through both the state and city.

         City Public Works officials say the change of the local licensure renewal to August 31 ensures the state license is renewed for the year, prior to the renewal deadline for local licensure.

CITY COUNCIL PASSES ORDINANCE REVISING CERTAIN LICENSE RENEWAL DATES: At its meeting last week, the Rapid City Council Tuesday approved second reading of an ordinance revising the annual renewal date for City sewer, water and trenching licenses.

                The State Plumbing Commission recently updated the renewal date of  state Sewer Water licenses, changing the dates required for annual license renewals from December 31 to June 30.  The City’s Trenching Board recommended an ordinance change, adjusting the renewal date for City Sewer Water and Trenching licenses from February 28 to August 31.

         “By adjusting our current renewal date to August 31, we better align with the state’s licensing,” said Interim Assistant Public Works Director Shannon Truax.  “Any sewer-water or trenching license that was scheduled to expire on February 28 will automatically be extended to August 31.”

        License holders were notified by email of the change and will be sent a reminder email in July.

       “We encourage anyone who has a license to keep their email updated with us so that they don’t miss any important notices about licensing,” Truax said. 

       Contractors doing sewer/water installation work in Rapid City are required to be licensed through both the state and city.

       City Public Works officials say the change of the local licensure renewal to August 31 ensures the state license is renewed for the year, prior to the renewal deadline for local licensure.

**CITY HALL SERVING AS RECYCLING LOCATION FOR ALKALINE BATTERIES: A collection bin for the disposal of alkaline batteries has been placed at the front desk of the Public Works Department administration area on second floor of City Hall.

         Americans throw away more than three billion batteries each year, totaling 180,000 tons of waste.  The average American household buys as many as 90 alkaline batteries annually, which results in 86,000 tons of waste per year just from single-use alkaline batteries.

            Alkaline batteries include the AAA, AA, C and D batteries used in many household items.

            “The most common small device battery is the ‘AA’ battery and are mostly used at work in remotes, computer mice and keyboards, calculators, and headphones, and used in our homes in so many gadgets from flashlights to toys,” said Rodney Swendener of the City’s Public Works Department.  “We can easily take for granted the number of batteries we use and dispose of. Right now, our practice is to simply throw them away.”

            The Rapid City Public Library also recycles alkaline batteries at no charge and the Rapid City Landfill accepts alkaline batteries, which can be placed in garbage containers. 

            “We use a lot of alkaline batteries here at the City, just within our own departments and divisions” said City Sustainability Program Development Manager Lysann Zeller.  “The City Hall collection bin is a way to collect the batteries for recycling, both within our City departments and from the public.”

            While dead batteries may be tossed aside by the public, they can take on a much different and destructive role after being discarded.

            “Those batteries make their way to the landfill where they are buried in refuse,” Swendener said.  “Eventually they break down and, in the decomposition process, batteries have the potential to leak harmful chemicals. That process alone can take over 100 years.”

           Ria Hannon of the City’s Solid Waste Division says when many items, including batteries, are littered and not disposed of properly, can leak into the ground water and local water supply.  She said the Rapid City Landfill lines their cells to prevent such contamination and says any proper diversion of batteries is appreciated.

            Zeller said the plan is to expand the collection program to other city departments.  She also referenced several local businesses that accept alkaline batteries at no charge, such as Lowe’s Home Improvement and Chris Supply.  Batteries Plus Bulbs and Interstate Battery and Badger State Recovery also accept lithium batteries, which are not accepted at the Rapid City Landfill due to the combustible nature of the batteries.

            “It’s important for the community at large to participate in the recycling and proper disposal of alkaline and lithium batteries,” said Zeller.  “That includes homeowners, businesses and here at City Hall.”

            For more information on where to recycle batteries, visit https://www.rapidcityrecycles.org/batteries--lithium-batteries.html  .

**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 of odd numbered years 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.

**CITY SWEEPS AVERAGE OF 2300 TONS OF MATERIAL FROM CITY STREETS:  As this year’s edition of the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo shutters for another year, an army of workers hustle to transform The Monument facilities from dirt-filled rodeo arenas, sale rings and corrals to spit-spot display and vendors areas for this weekend’s Black Hills Sports Show and Outdoor Expo.

           When most everything has been packed up, hauled away and items placed into boxes and into storage, the arenas and parking lot facilities are turned over to City crews operating street sweepers – those vehicles that move at a snail’s pace with a constant humming noise.

           “A lot of work goes into the changeover of The Monument from the Stock Show to the Sports Show,” said Priscilla Dominquez, director of corporate sales and marketing at The Monument.  “As part of the massive effort to tear down one huge event and set up for another large event, the city street sweepers and crews play a major role in the process by collecting the dirt and debris from the arenas and parking lots in quick order so we can begin staging of sports show vendors and displays.”

            The city sweepers may move at slow speeds but they move tons of debris off city streets each year.

           Consider this: City Street Department crews have swept an average of more than 2300 tons of material from city streets over the past four years.

            Yes, TONS!  That’s a lot of gravel, dirt, rock and other debris!

            “With our considerable traffic, our seasonal weather patterns, the construction projects and our winds, our sweepers have a lot of material to collect and pick up,” said Jeremy Cahill of the City Streets Division.  “Our sweepers are kept busy.”

           Stacked alongside other trucks and vehicles in the City fleet, the street sweepers don’t possess the speed of the police cruisers, the brawn of the solid waste dumpsters or the girth of the dump trucks and plows over at the streets department.  When it comes to speed and maneuverability, City sweepers are the sloths of the fleet.

           If the City’s fleet of vehicles were in a parade, the City Street Sweepers are the equivalent of the shovel-bearing workers that follow the horses and elephants.  But much like the pothole patchers, plows, dump trucks and trash haulers, the sweepers play a key role in keeping the city clean.

            The City’s fleet of 10 sweepers remains busy throughout all four seasons of the year.

            Cahill said the sweepers collect not only dirt and gravel, but cups, bottles, cigarette butts, paper items and other debris.

            “The crews work to keep the streets clean of the debris,” Cahill said.

           The sweepers collect material left behind from the thousands of cars traveling city streets on a daily basis, pick up debris residing on streets and gutters produced from various weather conditions, and round up material in wash outs produced from spring rains.

            Sweeper crews work in residential areas during the day and main line areas at night for safety reasons to minimize interaction with traffic.  The collected material is dropped off at the Street Shop detention area on Steele Avenue, dried and then taken to the Rapid City Landfill, which uses the material for cover.

            “The work done by the sweepers and the crews – it’s a slow process but an important part of keeping our community clean,” says Cahill, noting the sweepers operate at about five miles per hour when collecting material. The vehicles display bright lights to alert the public of their presence. 

            The sweepers help reduce the dirt, dust and debris buildup on roads and are part of the important role of street department crews along with snow removal and patching potholes.

          Cahill urges drivers to use caution when approaching or passing street sweepers and to be mindful of oncoming traffic in the work area.

**RAPID CITY REGIONAL AIRPORT SETS NEW RECORD FOR PASSENGER EMPLANEMENTS IN 2023: Rapid City Regional Airport set a new record for passenger enplanements in 2023, with 352,388 passengers boarding flights. This number exceeds the previous record of 350,960 set in 2019, and represents an increase of 4.1% from 2022.

         "Air service is crucial for the growth and tourism of the Black Hills region. It contributes to a massive positive economic impact on the community. We would like to express our gratitude to our passengers who have helped us achieve this milestone. We also appreciate the hardworking staff of Rapid City Regional Airport who work tirelessly around the clock every day to ensure that our airport remains safe and operational," said Patrick Dame, the Airport Executive Director.

        Rapid City Regional Airport is the only full-service commercial airport for the Black Hills and contributes over $456 million in economic impact annually to South Dakota. Our mission is to provide a safe, environmentally responsible, and fiscally self-sustainable operation, ensuring high-quality services and facilities. Our vision is to provide world-class transportation services, enhancing economic growth.

Rapid City Regional Airport Emplaned Passengers:

2023     352,388

2022      338,502

2019       350,960

For additional statistics, visit: Rapairport.com/category/stats

**NEW SIOUX PARK TENNIS COURTS COMPLEX OPENED TO PUBLIC ACCESS:  Construction is complete, Mother Nature is cooperating and the City’s Parks and Recreation Department is opening the new Sioux Park Tennis Courts Complex to public access.

       Wednesday (December 20) marked the first day the public can access the 12-court complex.  The courts will be open from approximately 5 am to dusk until push button controls for the court lights are installed.

      Construction on the $3 million project began in late January. The Sioux Park Tennis Court project was one of 11 projects approved in early 2022 by the Rapid City Common Council to receive Vision Fund money, based on recommendations from the Citizens Vision Fund Committee.  The Council approved $3 million for the project, which called for a total rebuild of the area and included 12 tennis courts, new LED sports lighting, seating and shade structures, new fencing and windscreens and upgraded vendor, spectator and team amenities as well as drainage improvements. 

       “We are planning an official ribbon cutting ceremony sometime in the spring but with the weather being so nice, we wanted to open access to the complex for the public to get some outdoor court time and get a close look at the improvements,” said City Parks and Recreation Landscape Architect Melissa Petersen.  “We appreciate the patience of the public during the past 10 months as contractor crews worked on this project that will provide great recreational opportunities for the public as well as the community in hosting big tennis events.”

       Complete Concrete, Inc. of Rapid City is the contractor on the project.

       Petersen said the City plans to keep at least four courts closest to the north parking lot of the Sioux Park complex open to public access throughout the winter season.  There will be portable restroom facilities near the complex for public use.

**CITY EXPANDING SERVICES OF PUBLIC WORKS CALL CENTER: In September, the City’s Public Works Department established a call center to respond to the city’s growth and increasing number of customer calls.

           Effective next Tuesday (November 14), the center will expand its services to include customer calls concerning additional divisions within the department.  Beginning next week, call center staff will field citizen calls for the City’s water, water reclamation, utility billing and utility maintenance divisions.

            When City customers call these divisions, the calls will be routed to the Customer Service Center where questions and concerns will be fielded and addressed by a customer service agent.  The agents are City employees and are staff of the public works department.

            The call center is located in the City’s water treatment plant on Mountain View Road with four City employees tasked with taking calls and addressing questions and concerns.  City officials estimate center staff members are currently fielding an average of 100 calls per day.  The number is expected to grow with the oversight of additional divisions within the department.

            “Having the customer service center increases the level of service we are able to provide City residents and the general public,” said Jesse Rieb, program development manager with the City’s Public Works Division.  “This call center provides the city resident with a level of transparency and efficiency, an opportunity to connect with someone to address a specific issue or question and get immediate attention.”

            City officials are pleased with the early success of the call center and plan further expansion of the center in 2024 to employ an additional staff member and adding the City’s solid waste division for call center oversight.

**1972 FLOOD SURVIVORS AND VOLUNTEERS REMINDED TO SHARE AND RECORD MEMORIES, EXPERIENCES: Survivors of the 1972 Black Hills flood and volunteers who assisted in the area’s recovery are reminded to share their memories and experiences by providing oral histories to the Rapid City Public Library as the 51st observance of the tragic event approaches next month.

            The Library has been accumulating oral histories about the 1972 flood for many years.  Anyone interested in sharing their recollections are encouraged to set up an appointment with Library staff, who will assist and coordinate the recordings. Call 605-394-6139 to set up an appointment.

            “We are always interested in collecting the important recollections and memories from those who experienced the 1972 flood firsthand, from both survivors and those who helped with rescue efforts and with the rebuilding of the community,” said Senior Librarian Sam Slocum.  “Last year, with the 50th commemoration events, there was considerable interest to come in and share the stories.  This is an ongoing effort by the Library and we know there are many out there who have experiences and memories to share and we want to preserve those recollections for future generations.”

            Slocum says the Library also serves as an important outlet for Rapid City residents and visitors alike to learn about the tragic June 1972 flood event, which remains as the deadliest flash flood event in US history - claiming 238 lives, injuring more than 3,000 people, destroying 1,335 homes and was the most costly flood event at the time, causing more than $165 million in damages (1972 dollars)

**RESIDENTS REMINDED TO REMOVE SUMP PUMPS FROM THE SANITARY SEWER: Heavy spring and summer rains can sometimes result in flooded basements.  City officials are again reminding residents it is illegal to discharge water from sump pumps into the City's sanitary sewer system and advise residents to remove sump pump connections to the sanitary sewer.

           Such actions are contributing factors to sewer backups in many instances. It’s not only illegal but city officials encourage sewer customers to be good neighbors and remove sump pump connections to the sanitary sewer. This includes sump pumps connected to floor drains or connected in some way to the City’s sanitary sewer system.

           Sump pumps, which remove ground water from homes and businesses, should be discharged into yards, streets, or the storm sewer, according to city officials. The sanitary sewer system is designed to convey only water from toilets, sinks, showers, dishwashers, and laundry machines. If residents are found in violation of City ordinances (13.16.200 and 1.12.010), they risk a fine of $500 and/or jail time of up to 30 days.

            City officials issued a first reminder to residents early last month at a time when melting spring snows can sometimes lead to flooded basements.

            Questions regarding sump pump discharge can be directed to the City Utility Maintenance Division at 605-394-4163. 

**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.

**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 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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