City of Sturgis lays out what an aquatic park might look like in the near future

STURGIS, S.D. — It’s a $6 million project three years in the making. Residents in Sturgis have two opportunities to have their voices heard about a new aquatic adventure park in works.


When the City of Sturgis wanted to build a splash pad in 2019, residents wanted more.

Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis’ City Manager, said, “They really wanted to have something that would be affordable for the community…that would not be a continual strain on the city’s long-term operational budget, but they also wanted something that would be unique and that would be attractive to a diverse number of individuals…so kind of every age demographic.”

The solution was an aquatic adventure park.


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This map shows the plot of land that would be the home of the Sturgis aquatic adventure park. (Darsha Nelson, NewsCenter1)

It’s planned as part of a 77-acre development purchased by the City on Junction Avenue just south of Interstate 90.

The property isn’t in Sturgis city limits yet, but Ainslie says it will be annexed later this year.


Ainslie says they’ve discussed more than 25 different types of attractions, everything from ziplines to inflatable obstacle courses.

“There’s been a lot of different features that have been brought up, from zip lines that would go into a two- to three-acre lake, a sand beach that would be graded and have the nicest beach that would be available in the Black Hills. Large, inflatable obstacle courses, a myriad of slides and cliff jumping opportunities, different things like that.”

The public meetings will be used to rank those attractions so the City Council can see overall what the majority of people are wanting.


The $6 million price tag, according to Ainslie, is about a quarter of what it would cost to build a park similar to the one in Spearfish.

$400,000 has been raised through community donations, which will go along with the proceeds from the sale of the land.

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This 77-acre plot of land would be the home of the Sturgis aquatic adventure park. The park would only take up a portion of the land, while the rest would be developed into residential and commercial properties (Darsha Nelson, NewsCenter1)

“There would be a tax increment finance district that would be established, and that would help pay for the public infrastructure of the park,” Ainslie said. “Then also the original money back from 2019 that the City was going to invest in the splash park…that money is still available.”

Ainslie said it was really heartwarming to see the community donations, everything from a little kid putting in a quarter, to an anonymous donor who gave $109,000.


There are two scheduled public meetings where locals can go to give feedback.

The first is Tuesday, September 20 at 5 p.m. The next is set for Tuesday, October 4 at 5 p.m.

Both are held at the Community Center in Sturgis.


The next step after these public meetings is Council approval.

The Sturgis City Council will vote later this year whether or not to approve the aquatic adventure park.

If approved, the adventure park is set to open sometime in the summer of 2024.

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