Rapid City continues expansion eastward

Downtown Rapid City offers everything from entertainment to living. Months after a city ordinance passed, the focus has shifted from tourism to the people in Rapid City.

Shops, businesses and living spaces are expanding eastward.

“I think coming this way is going to be more about catering to the people who live here,” said Nick Reid, owner of Pure Bean, a downtown coffee shop. “Downtown is certainly a lot about tourism. I think this is going to be about people.”

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is a big push for the growth eastward.

“We’re more welcoming to School of Mines students and guess what? If the students are here, their parents are visiting, and that’s an economic boost,” said Dan Senftner, President and CEO of Destination Rapid City.

The goal is to reap benefits from more than just visitors and get some students to stay in Rapid City.  But as the population grows, so does the need for housing.

“We do need more housing, and that’s where downtown living comes into play,” said Senftner. “You can walk to your bank, you can walk to your coffee shop, you can walk to your favorite place to gather.”

Senftner is focused on the future and making downtown Rapid City more accommodating for living.

Parking changes are already on the way, and Rapid City is talking about silencing the train that goes through town.

“That makes downtown living more comfortable,” said Senftner. “You’re not listening to a train whistle at 2 a.m., and that’s very important to downtown expansion.”

Before a city re-zoning ordinance was passed, growth was very limited. Now, businesses are able to build more units and occupy more space.

Now that it’s bursting with business with a promising future, Reid says he’s glad his coffee shop settled right where it did.

“It was about the building itself, and in that time, we’ve realized this was really a better idea than we thought, because everything is moving this way,” said Reid.

Categories: Local News