Seven things to know about repairs for the Rapid City downtown parking garage

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The City of Rapid City held a public meeting Friday, allowing the public to learn more about the planned repairs for the downtown parking garage.

During the meeting, business owners shared their questions and concerns with city officials.

Here are a few things to know about the repairs for the parking structure:

Stairwell1. What repairs are needed?

The repairs are on the mechanical, structural and electrical systems of the parking garage including the stair wells.

“We’ve had essentially water moisture induce corrosion, deterioration throughout the garage — its entire footprint. All levels in all of those different systems,” Stephen Kilber, project engineer with Albertson Engineering, said. “So structurally, we have concrete that’s beginning to deteriorate. The internal reinforcement is beginning to corrode and that leads to spalling, with either can be a head knocker if it’s from overhead or it can become a trip hazard if someone steps in a spall location.”

“We have issues in the stairs themselves — again, ultimately caused by moisture deterioration and that associated corrosion, mechanically and electrically. Drainage piping, floor drains, those are beginning to deteriorate as they carry salt and dust water away from the structure to minimize that ponding. And then electrically, the wires themselves are being attacked because the conduit is becoming so corroded because of that moisture infiltration.”

2. How will the parking garage be closed?

While there will be a time when the parking garage is completely closed, other times the repairs will happen in a quarter area of a floor. This will take away 40 spots or less.

3. How will parking work?

Anna Gilligan, parking operations manager, worked out a few possibilities with a map that shows different areas of downtown Rapid City that could work for parking relocation.

She will work with business owners to find a reasonably close parking lot to the business so it isn’t inconvenient for the owner or workers and will be willing to find a different spot if the first one doesn’t work well.

4. What repairs will be done to the stair wells?

The stairs themselves will be fixed, like with cracks or unleveled surfaces. There are also plans to enclose the stairs with glass for a few reasons:

  • Enclosed stairs would:
    • Mitigate slip, trip and fall potential
    • Provide better protection from environment
    • Extend life of stair repairs
    • Reduce future maintenance

But with the space being enclosed, it brought up some other concerns.

5. What concerns do business owners have with the enclosed stairs?

On concern that was brought up a few times was having enclosed stairwells and how the city could prevent loitering and homeless people gathering there to protect themselves from the weather.

“The enclosed thing, I think it’s a great idea. We have concerns about loitering and we have concerns about activity in those coverage spaces, especially when the weather starts to get a little bit colder. Just concerns about is that going to be where our homeless end up gathering, and is that going to be addressed and how is that going to be addressed.” Dan Tribby, general manager of Prairie Edge, said.

“They tend to use body functions anywhere and everything that they can, bless their hearts,” Patti Griffin, owner of Alternative Fuel Coffee House, said. “They don’t have the access that we as homeowners do. How is this going to be patrolled? Because I can see the stairwells being a place of a bathroom. Just places where I’m walking up and down might be accosted. My staff, my young teenagers at night might be accosted more easily within an enclosed stairwell.”

6. What has the city offered as some solutions?

“The stairwell itself, the enclosure, and I would say a better way to describe it, is a partial enclosure,” Operations Management Engineer Rod Johnson said. “It will not be enclosed on the interior side, just on the exterior sides. You’re still going to have breeze through there.”

“We are aware when body fluids are left behind in the parking structure because Anna and her team has to go clean it up,” Community Development Director Vicki Fisher said. “What we’re hopeful for and what we’ve seen in other communities as well, even though this is just a partial enclosure, it will be better lit. It is completely transparent. We will put up loitering system security if we need to. In addition, we’re looking at hiring an independent private company for patrol. We think that we’re actually going to improve the safety of the parking structure.”

7. What is the time frame?

Originally, the repairs were scheduled to start in November. Downtown businesses were worried that it would affect parking and visitors in general during the holiday season.

The proposed solution is to start January 9, 2023 and finish October 13, 2023.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News