BID Board deliberation done

By Jeff Smith

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The Business Improvement District (BID) Board has spent three meetings trying to get conceptual ideas in place so there can be a solid foundation to start the process of the design stage.

Near the start of the meeting, Brett McMacken, city administrator, said that they are not going to design what everything looks like in the meetings but hopefully everyone will get on the same page for the big picture.

“Whoever designs it can come back and say ‘here’s what I hear you saying.’ Then we can dissect the first draft and say, ‘we don’t like it because of X, Y and Z,’” McMacken said.

At the May 31 meeting the items on the agenda to discuss was the removal of the racquetball court, tennis court and Lewis Park restrooms. The big items discussed is that there is still a desire to have parking take up the tennis courts but they don’t want just parking there and the racquetball court space would be utilized by the Boys & Girls Club so children could ride bikes there.

The Lions Club in Hill City also would like to do some type of special project for the Boys & Girls Club. Fencing is going to have be taken out of the tennis courts but there could be fencing around the entire Boys & Girls Club.

Lisa Sagdalen, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Black Hills, was present at the meeting. She said removing the tennis court fence would be ideal and that area needs to be more aesthetically pleasing. She said no one uses that area as a tennis court but there are people that use it as a basketball court in the evenings.

The concrete of the racquetball court by the Boys & Girls Club is not salvageable. Sagdalen said there are people who borrow bikes from the racquetball court area  by the Boys & Girls Club. There have been problems with having it cluttered with bikes and other items.

“We have cleaned that up so many times,” Sagdalen said. “We try to keep it looking decent. It’s just impossible.”

Her idea was to create a cemented pathway around the green space for children to ride their bikes in place of the racquetball court. It could go from the end of the building to the start of the street. She doesn’t want the space to look like a big parking lot area.

There was also the idea to move the shed by the building and have gravel there.

She said that right now in the summer that almost every day there are boys and girls riding their bikes in the tennis court area.

“It works, it’s not ideal. We put a lot of Band-Aids on for scraped knees because it is full of gravel,” Sagdalen said.

Dennis Krull, BID Board member, said in looking at the green space by the tennis courts there could be a shelter or a small bandshell there. Krull envisions that space as more of a multi-use area. When parking is not needed it could be a place to hold events at.

“There could be a lot of things there during the shoulder season,” Krull said.

Krull also brought up the idea of having sod somewhere in the new racquetball space too.

Sagdalen asked what the time frame for the projects is.

Eileen Hamm, president of the BID Board, said they want to get the elements of the project discussed, get them to the design stage and then they will be able to go out to bid for different items.

Sagdalen said since the parking lot in the front is a one-way to the south, the alleyway needs to be a one-way to the North.

“I think it will keep traffic flowing. Even though people park in the alleyway trying to get another car through there or a delivery truck blocks traffic,” Sagdalen said.

McMacken said the width of the alleyway is 16 feet and the only potential reason why the traffic could increase is opening the tennis court to a parking lot. He doesn’t see any problems with the extra traffic since people will just be transitioning out. McMacken suggested that staff and owners of the businesses on Main Street could park there to leave the Main Street parking for tourists. Hamm also spoke about how the busses that come to town could drop off some people at that parking lot too.

Chuck Voorhees, BID Board member, said there is going to be more traffic there and mentioned that he would use the alleyway more if it wasn’t so rough.

Krull said the alleyway is not inviting now and it has to be made in a way that it is inviting.

“We have to design it in a way that it is pleasing to the eye,” Krull said.

The alleyway could become a one-way as they want to eliminate people going head-on with one another. In the future, the alleyway could be used as vendor space for different events.

The proposed parking lot could not connect to the alleyway but in the future there will most likely be multiple different designs. McMacken spoke about having a roll-over curb and then transitioning seamlessly to the parking lot.  Depending on the elevation of the tennis court there might need to be a bigger lift of asphalt than initially thought.

The city engineer could potentially design the parking lot for the BID Board. There is also a concern on the elevation change for drainage too.

The project elements are being funded by the occupancy tax from the local lodging establishments.

Codified law does allow for donations and different materials to be donated to the projects for the city to have. The BID Board is not going to actively seek out donations but it doesn’t want to keep people from giving to the projects.

Voorhees said the project is not going to get done with the BID Board alone. He also added that as the vision grows the community involvement will grow.

Hamm said everybody in town will have to work together to have something workable.

“I would think that other civic organizations would want to participate, like the Lions Club,” Hamm said.

The BID Board doesn’t want to seem like they don’t have the money to do the projects but does like input from the business members.

McMacken will put together all of the different pieces of what the BID Board wants and then everything will be looked at further later on. The BID Board won’t meet at  city hall in June but there will just be e-mail updates given to the BID Board members.

Buzz Grover has resigned from the BID Board and Tim Johnson has taken his place. Johnson  owns Quality Inn in Hill City and Grover is retired.  Grover could become the project manager for the BID Board later on.

The city council would have to approve that decision.

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