Year in review and looking ahead with Mayor Steve Allender
2018 brought big changes to Rapid City and set the city up for more growth in 2019. According to Mayor Steve Allender, it was another year of “slow and steady growth.”
From incoming businesses, changes in existing ones, and eyes on future developments, a lot happened in 2018 for Rapid City.
For the third year in a row, the city exceeded the $300 million dollar valuation mark for building permits. Allender, owing some of that to the city’s ‘Coffee with Planners’.
“To allow private builders, contractors, developers come in and meet with planning staff in an informal setting to brainstorm, listen to ideas,” said Allender. “I think it’s been a positive step.”
And there’s more steps to come with the news that 2018 brought.
“2018 was the big announcement of the B-21 at Ellsworth AFB,” said Allender. “Everyone knows that’s coming we just don’t know when it’s coming and we don’t know what the final result will be but that’s very exciting for Rapid City.”
Rapid City embraced the base in 2018 with the new Chamber of Commerce plan, “Embrace the Base.”
Then, the chamber announced they would be shifting gears to merge with “Elevate Rapid City”. Something Allender says will rewrite the rules on economic development.
“It’s to bring about higher paying jobs, to bring about better industry, to make sure our children and grandchildren have a better economy and chance to make it here than we did,” said Allender.
The growth of the city was reflected in the citizen approval of the Civic Center Expansion project.
“We were able to see the community come together, not just the older voting block or any particular group, but everyone came together and really elevated that position,” said Allender.
Looking into 2019, there’s one item the city itself has voted down in the past that may be coming back to the 500 block of St. Joseph Street.
“I have a draft contract right here on my desk and we will solicit proposals, and see what we like and see if we can come to some kind of agreement with the private sector to do something awesome,” said Allender.
Overall, Allender says he has high hopes for this next year.
2019 also brings the end of Allender’s mayoral term. He says he would “more than likely” be running.
The upcoming election will be the first four year term for a Rapid City mayor.