August 24, 2021

City Receives 28 Vision Fund Project Applications; Requests Total More Than $62.5 Million



Citizens Committee Will Review,

Make Recommendations to Council

RAPID CITY, SD--The City received more than two dozen applications for Vision Fund resources from community organizations for a variety of projects, many calling for new, expanded or upgraded facilities.

            Collectively, the 28 applying organizations are requesting more than $62.5 million in Vision Fund allocations.  The total cost of all 28 projects is $95.8 million.

            "It was a tremendous response from the community," said Mayor Steve Allender.  "There are requests ranging from less than $100,000 to multi-million dollar projects.

“All of the projects deserve and will receive review and consideration for Vision Funds by the Citizen’s Committee.  The Citizen's Committee will now begin a thorough process to review the proposals, hold public hearings and ultimately provide recommendations to the Council for possible approval.  If the past is any indication, the projects that will be ultimately approved by the Council will have a great benefit for Rapid City and our citizens well into the future."

            The Citizen Vision Fund Committee’s review of the applications includes a series of working sessions and project hearings.  It is anticipated recommendations will be brought forward to City officials in December with the City Council making the final decision early in 2022 on which projects will receive Vision Funds.

The amended timeline is as follows:

*August 23-October 15: Citizen Vision Fund Committee working sessions

*October: Vision Project hearings

*October/November: Committee working sessions

*December: Recommendations due and presented to the City Council at a regularly-scheduled City Council meeting

The purpose of the Citizen Vision Fund Committee is to accept and take comments on potential Vision Account projects.  The Committee will evaluate potential projects and provide recommendations to the City Council.  The Council previously authorized utilizing half of the expected annual Vision Funds for community projects with the other half utilized to pay on bonds for construction of the new Summit Arena. 

The origin of the Vision Fund dates back to 1972 when voters approved a half-penny sales tax increase with the revenue to be spent on the building of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.  In the mid-1990s, voters approved continuation of the half-cent tax to build a fund to support community projects.

            The estimated Vision Fund revenue available for projects is approximately $26 million over the next three-year project plan.

            Examples of Vision Fund projects approved by the City Council in the past include Rural America Initiatives' Community Center, Harney Little League renovations, South Middle School and West Middle School Community Gym facilities, Wellfully Premier Adolescent Care Center, Skyline Wilderness Park, Main Street Square, Rapid City BMX Park upgrades, Youth and Family Services Kitchen Remodel, Rushmore Little League field lighting, Horace Mann Pool, Airport Terminal Expansion, Swim Center's 50 meter pool, Community Health Center of the Black Hills' Mental Health Pod and Canyon Lake Dam Reconstruction.

            "The Citizen Committee is ready to roll up its collective sleeves and get to work,” said Kevin Maher, Citizens Committee chairman .  “We have a lot of project applications to review and consider and we are ready to get to work.”

            The City Council approved the nine-member committee earlier this year.  Members of the Committee are voting members Jim Keck, William Spindle, Beth Keeney, Marta Olson-Rangitsch, Kevin Crosby, James Haar, Kim Morsching, Christine Stephenson and W. Kevin Maher.  Serving as alternate non-voting members are Jennifer Rice and Al Rodriguez.  There will also be two liaisons from the Youth City Council.  Maher serves as the Committee’s chairman.

            The last cycle of Vision Fund community projects was approved in February 2019 by the City Council, funding 14 projects with Vision Fund resources.

            For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office at 394-4110.

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