Meetings offer Ranger Square info

Leslie Silverman
By Leslie Silverman
Two public meetings to learn more about the Ranger Square project take place Sept. 27 and Oct. 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Hill City Center. It is an opportunity to hear from Ranger Square volunteers, to learn how the project will benefit the community and to answer questions the public might have about the project.
A 501(c)3, Ranger Square, Inc., will own the square and is in the beginning stages of fundraising. The non-profit has already raised its first $1 million toward the total $6 million cost that is needed to create a venue for entertainment.
This does not include the cost to build the commercial space and the apartments that the whole project will entail, as that part of the project is a for-profit private endeavor.
“Ranger Square is a reality; it’s going to happen,” said Bob Lowrey, President of Ranger Square, Inc.
Lowrey describes the Ranger Square vision as an amphitheater for three music performances and two movie nights for families throughout the summer. In the wintertime the venue will have an ice skating rink that goes around the grassy part of the square. It will be a great venue for Christmas caroling and tree-lighting, will have an outdoor classroom for school students and provide restrooms on the south side of town.
“I think we can also enhance the shoulder season,” said Lowrey. “I envision Ranger Square as the starting or ending point for a lot of races.”
Lowrey also sees it as a good spot for expanding current festivals and events Hill City already hosts.
The plan is to have a full-time manager that will book square events and handle skating rentals.
“If you go to Outlaw Square in Deadwood, ours will be better,” said Lowrey. “We’re trying to be different. That’s why we have a skating rink. And we don’t have splash pad, we have a creek. That’s why we have a commercial space.” 
The project will also include  housing, in either condominium  or apartment form. Lowrey wants people to know Ranger Square is not a park. 
“It’s a venue. It will forever change our tourism,” said Lowrey. “We have to have jobs.”
Lowrey, who said when Rushmore Forest Products left jobs left too.
“The only way we’re going to replace them is to play on our strengths, which is tourism.”
Lowrey sees the square as a means to get people to stay longer in Hill City. 
“Can you imagine what Ranger Square can do?” he asked. “If we can keep people until 10 p.m.  because of the concert and then they can visit the local establishments. That will have an economic impact.
“I kind of have a ‘if you will build it they will come’ attitude.”
There are major individuals, organizations and corporations who are already on board with the square.
Hill City Common Council, Hill City Economic Development Corporation and the school district have supported the project according to Lowrey, who has even spoken to district staff about the project two years in a  row. 
“Almost everyone I’ve talked to up and down Main Street, without exception, has been supportive,” Lowrey said.
Parking is going to be an issue, and at this time Lowrey is unsure how it will be solved. However, he is in talks with organizations to help find more parking options.
Lowrey says the square will not impact the current water and sewer infrastructure of Hill City.
Ranger Square is not supported by taxes and is not supported by the city, although the project may increase the value of homes in town.
Those who cannot attend the information meetings can find out more by visiting

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