June 11, 2021

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)

**MOA AMBASSADORS/HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION HOSTING COMMUNITY LEARNING FORUM JUNE 17:  The Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors (MOA Ambassadors) and the Rapid City Human Relations Commission are hosting a Community Learning Forum Thursday, June 17.  The Forum begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Western Dakota Tech Event Center and will feature presentations from local leaders of several community resource organizations.

Presentations will be provided by the Rapid City Police Department, Creek Patrol, Rapid City Fire Department’s Mobile Medic, Care Campus, Health and Human Services, Oyate Health and Camp Mniluzahan.

“The work of building relationships and building community is ‘forever work’. This community learning forum is another step in that process of being together, learning together, building relationships and community, together,” said Malcom Chapman, Human Relations Commission coordinator.  “In this particular instance, it is important to increase our collective knowledge of services being offered in our community and that is what this forum is designed to do.”

The Forum theme is ‘The more YOU know, the better WE do’ and is billed as an uplifting, informative listening session.

“We invited all of Rapid City to gain increased knowledge about different ways to address important community needs that affect everyone,” said Karen Mortimer of the MOA Ambassadors.  “When you know better, we all do better. The forum is an opportunity to learn about different ways to address needs and get important questions addressed and answered.”

The Community Learning Forum is free and open to the public.  Doors to the event will open at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Chapman at 718-2420.

**CITY WATER RESTRICTIONS BEGIN JUNE 1: Rapid City's annual mandatory water conservation measures go into effect June 1.

            Beginning Tuesday (June 1), no watering is allowed between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.  Odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water on odd-numbered calendar days.  Even-numbered addresses are allowed to water on even-numbered calendar days.  No outside watering is allowed on the 31st day of any month.

            Manual watering with a handheld hose or with a bucket, sprinkling can or other similar container is allowed.

            Since the 1990s, the City of Rapid City has instituted mandatory water conservation measures.  The purpose is to maintain a conservation philosophy among residents.   Water conservation measures are utilized June 1-August 31 each year under normal status conditions.  Status conditions include normal, concern, alert and critical stages and are determined by the water levels and inflows to Pactola Reservoir. 

            "Our City’s water plan has included water conservation measures since the 1990s,” said Jeff Crockett, Rapid City Water Superintendent.  "Water conservation has greatly impacted the community's daily use of water. Maintaining conservation measures and keeping residents educated about the importance of water conservation practices is extremely important.

            "From one year to the next, conditions can change. They can change drastically within a short time during a particular season of the year."

            The impact of water conservation measures is reflected in the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City. In the 1990s, prior to implementation of annual water conservation measures, the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City was 168 gallons.  In 2020, the average daily use of water per person in Rapid City was 120 gallons.  A ‘Please Use Water Wisely’ pyramid of 168 water jugs, reflecting the daily use of water per person in the 1990s, is on display at the Mountain View Water Treatment Plant.

            For more information or questions about the City’s water restrictions, contact the Rapid City Water Office at 394-4162.

**LIGHTS OUT...WHO YOU GONNA CALL? The City's Traffic Operations Division is reminding the public if they see a street light out or not working properly, contact them at 394-4118. Provide a good location so crews can be dispatched to change out the light or make any needed repairs.  Callers are advised to leave a message in the evenings or weekends for attention the next business day.

**RAPID CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY LAUNCHES SUMMER READING: Rapid City Public Library’s Summer Reading Program - Tails & Tales begins June 1 with programs and prizes for kids, teens and adults. Custom reading logs and bookmarks will be available to track progress and turn in for prizes – books, toys, activities and treats! It’s important to minimize summer learning loss by motivating kids to read throughout the summer. By doing so, kids are able to better retain what they learned the previous school year and pick up where they left off in the fall.

To participate, kids can read or be read to for 15 minutes a day for 25 days and turn in their logs at the downtown or pop-up library for a book and small prize. They’ll receive another log to complete an additional 25 days of reading. Kids who read for 50 days will be entered into drawings for grand prizes – Lego sets, STEAM kits, games and more!

There’s Summer Reading for teens too! By reading 30 minutes a day and turning in their log each week, they will be entered to win a prize basket with a book, craft and a gift card to local businesses. Adults also can join in on the fun with their own logs, weekly drawings and prize baskets.

Reading logs and bookmarks can be picked up at the downtown or pop-up library locations or printed from www.rapidcitylibrary.org.

**CITY SALES TAX RECEIPTS REACH RECORD TERRITORY FOR MARCH, FIRST QUARTER:  Rapid City posted record sales tax receipt numbers for a third consecutive month in March.

            The March sales tax receipts totaled a record $2,990,015.  The total is more than 26 percent higher than March 2020 – the first month the community was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic - when receipts totaled $2,297,697.  For the first three months of 2021, sales tax receipts total $7,671,176.  The total for the first quarter of this year is the highest on record and is more than 16 percent higher than the first quarter receipts of 2020 ($6,524,358).

            “It’s been a record-setting quarter and a great way to start the year,” said Pauline Sumption, City Finance Director.  “People were venturing out more during the first quarter, it was a relatively mild winter overall and people appear to have spent at least some of their federal stimulus payments to support their community.

            “All indications point to a strong spring and summer, so we are hopeful the trends continue.”

**CITY CREWS INITIATING MOSQUITO CONTROL EFFORTS:  With people swarming to the pools, parks and playgrounds as seasonal temperatures rise, City Parks officials advise the public to be on the lookout for another swarm: the emergence of those pesky, winged insects that can dampen spring and summer activities.

            Mosquito season is upon us.

            Starting in late May, the City's Parks Division and Storm Water Drainage Division initiated mosquito control actions.  Crews are placing larvicide briquettes, which last 120 days, in standing water areas in the City park system to control mosquito larvae.  Crews are expected to finish briquette placement in areas by the second week in June.

            "With the recent rains, we wanted to get crews out with the briquettes," said City Parks Manager Scott Anderson. "The briquettes are a good control measure and they last a long time."

            City crews are focusing their efforts on City greenways and park areas with the larvae briquettes.  Anderson says Parks will be conducting checks and monitoring for reports of mosquito populations, which will determine fogging efforts as the calendar turns to summer.

            Anderson says homeowners can play a big role in keeping mosquito populations down around their homes.

            "The more important thing and the best action residents can take is to get rid of standing water areas around their homes," said Anderson. " Standing water areas are where mosquitoes can lay their eggs and larvae can grow.

            "Residents can also utilize topical application of repellent products containing DEET for personal use against mosquitoes."

            Anderson said crews from the City's Stormwater Drainage Division are treating drainage areas and storm sewer inlets with briquettes.   In addition, crews will utilize fogging on a complaint basis and in areas where larger events may be taking place later this summer.  If crews plan fogging operations, the City will communicate areas scheduled for fogging operations to the media and through the City's social media platform.

            The City has also applied for the Mosquito Control and West Nile Prevention Grant.  Grant awards are issued around July 1.  Anderson said the City has applied for $10,000 to be used for additional chemicals, updating machines and equipment.

**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 VIEW TROLLEY TO OPERATE THIS SUMMER SEASON: The City View Trolley is back for a summer of tours.

            Known by its distinctive green and red turn-of-the-last-century cable car appearance, the City View Trolley sat idle last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Operated by Rapid Transit System, the Trolley takes passengers on a narrated, hour-long, 15-stop tour of Rapid City and is popular among visitors and residents alike.  A total of 13,600 riders used the Trolley during the 2018 and 2019 summer seasons.

            “We are excited the Trolley will be back in use this summer,” said Rapid Transit System Manager Megan Gould.  “It’s a popular ride and a great way to see and visit some of our community’s most well-known attractions.”

            The Trolley season will operate from June 1 to August 31.  The Trolley runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday with the last route departing the Milo Barber Transportation Center at 333 Sixth Street at 4 p.m.

            Stops on the tour include the Journey Museum, Storybook Island, Dinosaur Park, Stavkirke Chapel in the Hills, Founders Park, Sioux Park Formal Gardens, Main Street Square, the Berlin Wall in Memorial Park, Canyon Lake Park, and the Dahl Fine Arts Center. Riders can stay on the trolley for the entire tour or get off at a particular stop to visit an attraction and board the Trolley on its return trip an hour later.

            The City View Trolley became a part of the Rapid Transit System in 2007 and operates from June 1-August 31. The route begins and ends at the transportation depot, but riders can board at any of the stops along the tour route.  Fares range from $2 for adults to $1 for children 12 and under and $1 for ‘honored citizens’: riders 60 and older, disabled citizens and Medicare card holders. Masks are required to ride on the Trolley.

            For more information, contact the Rapid Transit System at 394-6631.

RAPID CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE: Rapid City Public Library has launched a new website in order to streamline and prioritize user content. Categories according to age group and specific interests are now central and easily identified with buttons. The menu bar breaks down the more popular services like booking meeting and study rooms, downloading and streaming, as well as signing up for a library card. The new site can be explored at rapidcitylibrary.org. 

**REMOTE YARD WASTE DROP-OFF LOCATIONS OPEN: The City’s Solid Waste Division reminds the public the remote yard waste locations are open for the season.

The remote yard waste drop-off sites are located at Fitzgerald Stadium and W Blvd North.  Both locations opened for the season Monday, April 5.  The locations include the yard waste containers along with the mixed recycling, cardboard, and newspaper containers.  The yard waste containers will be available at both sites through November.

Officials remind the public to utilize the containers for their intended purposes: yard waste, recycling materials, cardboard and newspaper.  The remote collection sites are not dump sites for large items such as appliances, furniture, and items that should be taken to the Rapid City Landfill.  If you have questions, contact the Solid Waste Division at 355-3496.

Solid Waste officials also remind the public to sign up for adjusted collection notices by visiting www.rapidcityrecycles.org and sign up for email reminders.  The public can also keep up with Solid Waste information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SolidWasteRC .

**EARTH DAY TRAIL CHALLENGE ATTRACTS MORE THAN 50 PARTICIPANTS:  More than 50 people participated in last month’s Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge, sponsored by the Rapid City Sustainability Committee.

                            The local Earth Day Trail Challenge was a five-week event, tasking the public to hike each of three local trails: the Skyline Amphitheater Trail, the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park’s Far West Trail and the State Game, Fish & Parks Nature Trail at Outdoor Campus West.  Along each trail, hikers would find a Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge sign and they were tasked to take a selfie with the sign in the photo.  Hikers had until May 31 to complete the three-hike challenge. Participants could show the selfies and pick up a Rapid City Earth Day pin at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ Outdoor Campus West.

            “We were pleased at the level of response this year,” said Lysann Zeller of the Sustainability Committee. “We are definitely planning to hold the Earth Day Trail Challenge again next year.”

            As part of Earth Day recognition, this year’s participants were also encouraged to pick up litter and garbage encountered on the hikes.

**CITY'S ESTIMATED POPULATION TOPS 78,000: Rapid City continues to grow steadily in population.

            The City’s Long Range Planning Division estimates the 2020 year-end Rapid City population estimate at 78,369, up from 1.53 percent from the 2019 population estimate of 77,185.

            The Community Development Department issues an annual population estimate based on methodology approved by the US Census Bureau.  The estimates are based on approved building permits, housing demolitions, the 2010 Census occupancy rate and the 2010 Census persons per household rate for Rapid City.

            City officials expect the official 2020 Census data for Rapid City in late May.  The data will become the basis for next year’s population estimate and will be utilized by officials for the next decade in relation to priorities and funding for programs.

            The US Census Bureau indicated Rapid City’s population at 61,167 in 2000 and 67,956 in 2010.  City officials estimate the average population growth since 2000 at 1.4 percent.

**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.

**CITY SEEKS TO FILL VACANCIES ON FORESTRY, BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEES: The City's Parks and Recreation Department seeks to fill vacancies on two of its prominent boards and committees.

            There are currently vacancies on each of the City's Urban Forestry Committee and Beautification Committee.

            For more information about the committees and to complete a Citizen Interest Application, visit the Boards, Commissions and Committees page on the Government tab at www. rcgov.org .  This application process is open until vacancies are filled.

            The five-member Urban Forestry Committee reviews and makes recommendations on city tree plans developed by the City's Community Development Department and City's Parks Department, among other duties.

            The five-member Beautification Committee develops and implements beautification projects and policies and encourages public and private beautification activities in the community.

            Appointments for the committees are approved by the Parks and Advisory Board.  For more information, contact the City's Parks and Recreation Department at 394-4175.

**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.

**CITY'S HOME RULE COMMITTEE WEBSITE AVAILABLE FOR INFORMATION, OBTAIN PUBLIC FEEDBACK: The City's Home Rule Charter Committee has established a website for the public to learn more about the home rule concept, address questions and provide input.

            To access the site, visit rapidcityhomerule.org .  Specific features to the site include a brief history of home rule in South Dakota, comparisons between home rule and the City's current mayor/aldermanic form of government, frequently asked questions, a tab to ask a question or provide input, opportunities and challenges to home rule and local media stories about home rule,

            The Rapid City Council authorized the mayor to establish a Home Rule Charter Committee last December with citizens appointed to the committee in early May after a delayed selection process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Committee meets twice-monthly with subcommittees working on a weekly basis.  It is anticipated the Committee will bring forth a formal recommendation to the City Council early in 2021 for discussion and possible action, which could include a public vote later in 2021.

            "Once it got started in May, the committee has been committed to learning more about home rule, how it would impact the community and citizens," said Mayor Allender.  "They are under a specific time line to bring forth a recommendation to the City Council and the new website will provide an opportunity for awareness to the community, flush out questions and obtain important feedback from the citizens, who would be making the ultimate decision if Rapid City becomes a home rule community."

            The site will be available for public access throughout the committee's work into at least early next year. 

**PUBLIC REMINDED TO SUBMIT ONLINE COMMENTS FOR CITY MEETINGS: City officials remind the public to utilize a convenient online option to submit comments for City Council and committee meetings.

            In early April, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in adherence to social distancing protocols, the City initiated an online process for the public to submit comments.  A link to the public comment form is added to the respective Council and Committee agenda pages, to the COVID-19 updates link on the City's website.

            The public is advised to submit comments by the following deadlines:

*City Council: Noon the day of the meeting

*Legal/Finance & Public Works Working Sesson: 8 a.m. the day of the meeting

*Planning Commission/Zoning Board of Adjustment: 3:30 p.m. the day before the meting

            Late submittals and anonymous submissions will not be added to the agenda.  There is a 950-character limit to the online public comment form.

            "COVID-19 is a challenge but it cannot silence the public.  We have been encouraged by the public's use of the online comment form for citizens to use and share their comments, input and feedback," said Darrell Shoemaker, City Communications Coordinator.  "We are able to compile the comments and make them available to the mayor and council members as part of the public comment portion of the meeting.

            "We are not prohibiting the public from attending the meetings but with COVID concerns and the need for social distancing, the seating in Chambers is severely limited. Even though members of the public may not be able to attend the Council or committee meeting, their voice can still be heard."

            Online comments provided by the submission deadline for the respective meeting will be included as part of the official meeting record.  Due to the COVID-19 social distancing protocols, seating is extremely limited in Council Chambers.  Members of the public attending the sessions in person can still submit a paper comment form prior to the start of the session.

**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.

**CITY OF RAPID CITY AND COVID-19 UPDATES: The City of Rapid City is providing frequent 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 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.

**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.

**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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