Entries Tagged 'Rapid City' ↓

We should have negotiated RR quiet zones Downtown

Rapid City is showing they have a lot more vision than Sioux Falls by proposing quiet zones Downtown;

The city’s railroad quiet zone task force will meet next week to discuss funding for the project. A final report is expected within the next two months.

City officials will need to file a notice of intent with the Federal Railroad Administration and railroad companies once a quiet zone option is approved.

Harrington said Rapid City would be the first town or city in the state to implement a railroad quiet zone policy should it move forward.

As I have stated numerous times, the RR Redevelopment Project in DTSF was one of the worst negotiated projects in the history of the city. Besides the fact that we probably bought land from the RR that we probably already owned (Federal easements) we did nothing to limit train traffic DT or at least limit the noise. Of the millions we handed over to the RR for basically $62 a square foot dirty land, we didn’t have the vision to set aside some money to create quiet zones downtown. This SHOULD have been a part of the deal.


I was surprised to see the problems are still around;

Neitzert said he may wait to see if the ICON has any issues throughout the summer and in the meantime, slow the tempo on composing a new ordinance, but still thinks downtown maybe eventually need to change its key.

“It does seem like downtown needs something different, because the noise ordinance is written really well for other areas that aren’t mixed use, neighborhoods that are all residential,” Neitzert said. “But again the question is, what is the something?”

Ironically its airplanes, trains and first responders that cause the most noise, the decibel level does need to change downtown, funny how this stuff gets killed without little explanation. Kind of like moving public input without an informal public meeting about it. I had the opportunity to go inside one of the bigger condos in the building. While this one did not have a west side patio, it did have several west side windows. I was there for about an hour and the only sound I could hear from outside was a faint police car siren that was driving past the coliseum, but it was so faint you would not even notice it. I’m thinking having the patios on the west side are what may be causing some of the noise issues. My suggestion? Close you patio door.

Rapid City, be careful what you wish for

Rapid City just approved spending $130 million on a new Events Center. While I don’t live in RC, I can’t speak for what the people there want, but if they truly want it, who am I to tell them no. But as a person who went through this very dubious process in our city, a few words of advice;

Go with the flat siding, no matter what the architect and engineer may say. Trust me on this one.

Consider NOT using a CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) I would keep the process as open as possible.

Use a local contractor that you can trust.

Make sure you have plenty of parking.

Make sure profits go towards paying down the bonds and not into some mysterious slush fund.

Avoid sponsorships from mega hospital complexes and credit card companies.

Make sure you build it big enough.

Make sure your fire department has a fire truck that can reach the top.

And lastly, when the mayor or the city council tells you to ‘just trust them’ do the opposite and question their intentions.

Not sure why RC residents want to double their per capita debt (or more) but have it, just remember, there will be less headaches if you keep the process open and transparent.

Rapid City Mayor trying to sell his citizens on an empty promise

Rapid City residents are voting on a new Civic Center today, I have a feeling it will fail, but honestly I haven’t seen any polling so who knows.

But I really got a kick out of what mayor Allender said yesterday;

“Our economy can only grow with outside money, and that’s a significant source of outside money. Communities today also need to make sure they are paying attention to the quality of life issues. Large employers know this. And that is that they have trouble keeping, retaining and attracting young employee talent. That is only done through the amenities that the city has to offer,” Allender said.

Yeah, that was the song and dance we heard from our former mayor about the Denty. While it has been popular and operating well, it hasn’t made a dent in our economy. In fact I would argue it has been a vacuum. Since it’s inception our sales tax revenue has been down and the BID room tax has declined. Why? Well most of the revenue generated from the Denty goes to SMG, promoters and artists (out of town) while the rest of us foot the mortgage which gets ZERO offset from revenue.

I encourage RC voters to vote it down and don’t believe the hype. It will never ever pay for itself in NEW growth.

What are Sioux Falls taxpayers paying in legal fees? Good question.

As you know, the Argus Leader is embroiled in a Supreme Court case with the city over a secret settlement involving the siding on the Events Center. The city has also been involved with class action suits in recent years which involved millions in settlements, but for some reason, we as taxpayers have no idea how much the city spends on these lawsuits, yet in Rapid City, they not only give us the numbers, they even conclude they may lose the case.

Over that time, the city has spent $374,200 on legal fees. Now, after deciding to appeal a Jan. 27 ruling by a Pennington County jury that absolved Big Sky LLC of any responsibility for the roads, the city expects to sink another $10,000 to $20,000 into a legal battle with an uncertain outcome against a development company that its owner says has no money.

And I think this is a good comparison. Rapid City is a SD city, and the second largest in the State. So why do they see no problem and no legal ramifications with offering this information to their fine citizens, but for some reason we won’t do it in Sioux Falls?

Can you imagine if this Mural was painted in Sioux Falls?

This mural was recently painted in Arts Alley in Rapid City.

If Sioux Falls had an ‘Arts Alley’ how do you think locals would have reacted?

It’s actually pretty nicely done.

2016 Budget comparisons between Sioux Falls & Rapid City

This is strictly informational. I noticed that Rapid City approved their 2016 budget the other night, so I decided to crunch a few numbers.

I will admit, I would much rather live in SF then RC, but I have friends that live in RC and they love it. They say there is far more recreational opportunities. I still think quality of life is probably better in SF, but that is a matter of opinion.

Now for the numbers;

Sioux Falls proposed 2016 budget; $471 Million, 170K residents, $2,770 per person.

Rapid City’s implemented 2016 budget; $156 Million, 72K residents, $2,167 per person.

I have no doubt there will be some cutting and shuffling going on with the SF budget, but I doubt it will sway to far from the proposed amount.

The difference between Rapid City and Sioux Falls, well at least in perspective

Stormland TV gives me one thing, stark irony. First the new mayor of Rapid City comments on The Summer Nights Music Festival;

Despite some problems, Allender likes the way Summer Nights builds community.

“You can have a homeless person standing three feet away from a millionaire and they’re both enjoying the music and tapping their foot and maybe even talking,” he said. “I’ve never been to an event anywhere near that, that closeness and that bringing people together.”

Then there is Rob Joyce’s comments on JazzFest (he is the leader of SF Jazz & Blues Society);

“I step up on stage and I see young people, teenagers, young kids sitting with grandparents or sitting with people who are much older. And they’re all enjoying the same afternoon. They’re all enjoying the same music,” said Joyce.

Hey, but if you go walk along the Big Poo after dark to take a hit on a left-handed cigarette, you might find some homeless dancing (or sleeping). Millionaires not welcome.


Columnist should learn the basics of municipal government before writing about it

Yes, municipal governments work with the school districts in their respective territories and often school and municipal elections share a ballot like they will next Tuesday in Rapid City, BUT . . . (Stu Whitney column)

Building a new sports and entertainment complex. Working to improve race relations. Finding ways to ensure schools are properly funded. Forging relationships with businesses to spark growth.

This is what you get when you take a sports writer and turn him into a city columnist overnight. Lack of understanding.

Municipal governments have NO control over School District funding, and vice versa.

While it is nice for the mayoral candidates to weigh in on the school district opt-out in Rapid City or school start dates in Sioux Falls (as our mayor thought appropriate) they really have no control over it. That is NOT a leadership issue, it is a governing/jurisdiction issue.

Please, do us all a favor and do a little research on the basic tenants of local government. After all, it is where the big decisions are made, not in publicly supplemented indoor tennis courts.

RC Mayoral Candidate, Allender struggles with the Constitution

While I agree with Allender on the ban of certain kinds of ammo and firearms, he seems to be struggling a little with the US Constitution (From his FB page);


Good thing Sam cleared it up for him;

The chief and I are in serious disagreement here. Defending the Constitution is everyone’s job, especially elected public officials. It may interest the chief to know that the first line of the Oath of Office for the mayor of Rapid City reads as follows:

“I solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”

Hey! Sam, you might want to pass that little tidbit of civic advice onto our police department, city attorney’s office, mayor’s office and the city council, some of them don’t seem to get that whole ‘oath’ thingy.

Why doesn’t Allender just apologize?

I have been watching the Rapid City mayoral race closely (or somewhat closely) and the first thing I say to my West River brothers is “Why in the Hell would you elect a former Police Chief as mayor?”

Then there is the Landfill issue . . .

Either way, I would think that the good people of Rapid City would be smart enough to NOT elect someone who might be a supposed racist, but what is more troublesome, can’t say “Sorry.”

Not that I would compare our mayor to Allender, but MMM often makes weird statements around minorities (including women), but not in a racist way but more out of ignorance. He told a kid clearly of either Pakistanian or Indian decent (8th grader) at a school in one of his ‘Shut Up and Listen’ sessions that “Just because you are a different color then me, doesn’t mean you can’t be mayor of Sioux Falls.” The kid looked at him like ‘what planet did this guy come from?’

Then he spoke at First Baptist and the crowd was mostly African immigrants, he said to them about code enforcement, “Not only do white people need to be good neighbors, but colored people need to also.”
I know South Dakota is mostly behind the times, but when are we going to get with the program with race relations or at least understanding other cultures? Heck, we had the first Black president of the United States visit our state yesterday (I watched the entire commencement LIVE) and he gave a moving and inspiring message, while our NON-education governor in the background stared at the arena lights.
Pretty amazing that a BLACK man can come to South Dakota and make such an inspiring speech . . . I guess colored folk know how to make speeches to, who knew? 😉