Will Rapid City Residents Vote To Expand the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center?

Posted by Nate Wek on
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Virtual Proposed Design
Rapid City Journal

The residents of Rapid City will soon decide on whether to approve a $180-million expansion to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center or not. A special election is scheduled for next month.

Over the past couple of months, this has been a highly debated issue for the city. The rest of the state has weighed in as well, as many have speculated what a large venue in the western part of the state could mean to the eastern portion.

This $180-million proposal would replace the 9,400 seats currently at the Civic Center, and upgrade it to around 19,000. If you can, picture the Fargo Dome in North Dakota, this proposal would create something similar to that.

According to the Associated Press, this venue could cost around $420-million over the next 30-years with interest. While the community seems to be somewhat split, a few former Mayors of Rapid City are letting their opinions be heard.

Keith Carlyle, Ed McLaughlin, Jim Shaw, Jerry Munson, and Alan Hanks are opposing the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center project and in turn have joined a “Fix the Plan” committee.

This would be the most expensive project in Rapid City history, and the “Fix the Plan” committee is hoping to assemble the public in opposing the current arena expansion plan.

Although most view this project as expensive, it could also payoff in a positive way. By building a 19,000-seat arena/football stadium, Rapid City could see a bigger class of entertainment with concerts and events.

Musical acts similar to Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry, both of who performed at the Fargo Dome in 2014, could be a possibility with the expansion of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Rapid City Arena, which opened in 1977, is no stranger to big acts as Elvis Presley grand-opened the venue just months before his death.

Another speculation that coincides with expanding to a 19,000-seat facility is wanting to host a larger quantity of high school state events, more specifically the football championships. The Dakota Dome in Vermillion has become the permanent home for the high school football championships, but this could change if the venue expansion passes.

According to the Caroline Patrickis with News Channel One, a yes vote “is approval for the resolution.” It would authorize the sales tax obligation and the city would move forward with the proposal. A no vote would stop the current plan from proceeding. The special election will be held for Rapid City residents on March 10.

What do you think? Should Rapid City citizens pass the $180-million project to expand the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center?

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