BID Board forms ideas

By Jeff Smith

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On July 27, the Hill City Business Improvement District (BID) Board held its fourth meeting since being approved by the city council. Brett McMacken, city administrator, said a BID Board has been talked about for the last 20 years but it never amounted to anything until this year.

“It’s essentially designed to think of or create projects to promote the city,” McMacken said.

The board has seven members and five were present on July 27, enough to hold a quorum.

The first thing the members did was elect officers. The board needed a chairperson and a secretary. Eileen Hamm stepped up to the plate to be the chairperson and Doug Peters said he would be the group’s secretary.

McMacken said the chairperson is the one who will run the meeting and be the representative of the group going forward. Peters said he didn’t want to be the chairman because he is not a very good spokesperson. He said his strong suit is that he will help with everything and is a “good chore guy.” Hamm was nominated but said one of her problems could be time constraints.

Jason Gillaspie, Ward I Alderman for city council, will serve as the liaison between the board and city council.

The board has recently created a list of projects that were pulled from the comprehensive plan. The projects range from simple tasks such as enhancing the community gateway areas with signage/landscaping to more complicated ones like construction of a performing arts center. A water park and a recycling program were two projects that were added to the list as a result of the June 29 meeting.

Board member Shane Schriner suggested adding to pair Hill City with the Mickelson Trail.

Another board member suggested getting involved in the Rushmore Connector trail. This is a trail that is going to start in Hill City and finish at the  trailhead area across from the Mount Rushmore National Memorial’s parking structure.

Peters said there is some real branding that can take place on the Mickelson Trail since it is still pretty underdeveloped.

“Not only that but I’ve never seen a crowd,” Peters said. “And the state has a ong-term buy-in commitment on that.”

Schriner said he noticed a lot of ATV use in the area too. Peters said ATVs are coming on really strong and there is some opportunity to control it as there might be some problems later on.

Peters said the general consensus of the board was to find projects to keep people to stay here and grow the funds for the board.

The board also discussed the future of an events center in Hill City which has been conceptualized by the Heart of the Hills Economic Development Corporation for a couple of years.

McMacken said it’s not necessarily the project they are going to land on and champion, but the board members were interested in discussing it further.

Grover said it is a big first project but an important one.

Peters said the project will probably be in stages not only because of the bonding and financing but also because of the buy-in of support.

Board member Dennis Krull said everybody would be more in favor of it if there was somebody to manage the construction that would be a part of it. 

“This idea stood the test of time as much as any project that has been talked about,” Peters said.

He envisions bathrooms to be one of the very first steps if there was something to happen with it.

Krull said the whole plan for the events center has to be for everybody.

McMacken said the board should figure out the project and what they feel comfortable tackling.

“This project could have five phases, but maybe you want to just tackle the first three,” McMacken said.

The board is interested in hearing more about the project such as the cost and what has been investigated. Chris VanNess, with the EDC, is going to be invited to the next BID board meeting to talk about the project.

As part of the budget meeting after the BID board meeting the city council discussed the request by Bob Stanfiel for the Wine, Brew and BBQ event. McMacken said he asked about getting funds in June but didn’t meet the deadline to receive Bed, Board and Booze funds.

City council member Gillaspie said there were two problems with the request.

“We budgeted for the year we are in last year, not now,” Gillaspie said. “Second, the bulk of their request can’t be used for BBB funds.”

Julie Wickware-Klein, mayor of Hill City, brought up the idea to give him the $5,000 for advertising but not the total $15,000 which was requested. The council approved the $5,000 to be given for advertising the event.

The next meeting date for the BID board is 5 p.m., Aug. 17 at city hall.

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