WORK STARTS THIS MONTH
ON DINOSAUR PARK IMPROVEMENTS
Iconic park will be closed October 1-April 30
during multi-phase renovation project
RAPID CITY, SD—Work has started on the Dinosaur Park Accessibility Improvements project. The park will be closed to all public access beginning October 1.
Demolition work began September 20. The Dinosaur Park Visitor Center and Gift Shop will remain open through September 30 but the stairs will be inaccessible to visitors beginning September 20. Visitors are invited to access the dinosaurs via a hiking trail north of the staircase through September 30. Starting October 1, the park will be closed to all public access through April 30, 2023. Officials with the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department indicate the park closure will not affect any other trails within the Skyline Wilderness Area. A limited number of parking spaces in the Dinosaur Park lot will remain open for visitors wishing to access the Skyline Wilderness Trail system.
Officials indicate traffic control measures will be necessary along Skyline Drive when work is performed in close proximity to Skyline Drive. Motorists are advised to drive with caution during the construction period and be aware of construction traffic, traffic signs and flaggers in the affected area.
“This project has been many years in the making,” said Melissa Petersen, City Parks and Recreation landscape designer. “Anyone who has visited the park over the years realizes the limitations with access and these improvements will only enhance the visitor experience for generations to come.
“The improvements are extensive and we are working to do much of the work during the visitor off-seasons. We know many people like to visit the park throughout the year, but this closure will allow the work to get done in the safest and most efficient manner.”
The multi-phase project is scheduled for completion in December 2023. The project will upgrade Dinosaur Park with accessible pedestrian routes, bring safety features up to code and provide new and upgraded visitor amenities including site interpretation. Dinosaur Park improvements were among the items approved in the 2019 Vision Fund allocations by the City Council. The projected $3.5 million project is scheduled to be funded with $1.6 million from the Vision Fund and the remainder from the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department’s Capital Improvements Project (CIP) Fund and government facilities fund.
The park was dedicated in 1936 and was constructed by city crews and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The dinosaur sculptures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Over the years, maintenance and renovations have been made to parking, some pedestrian access, pavement and to the dinosaurs.
Timeline of phase one construction schedule: