Archive for August 2nd, 2012
By Joseph Budd, Native Sun News Correspondent
RAPID CITY – As the news filters out about the newly proposed Rushmore Plaza Civic Center arena, some have speculated on what sort of effect having a new, 18,000-seat facility will have on Rapid City.
More importantly, what about how the proposed arena will impact the surrounding region, including reservations and the people who use this event center for a variety of purposes – from the Lakota Nation Invitational to local powwows to hosting meetings?
From the get-go, some people trumpet the benefits of such an ambitious plan, which has the ability to lure cultural events and concerts that normally would bypass the civic center’s current Don Barnett Arena.
Likewise, there are those who look at the civic center as an evolving structure first put in place back in 1977 that has seen a number of additions ranging from simply extending the building to the east to the most recent extension of the ice rink.
And always at the forefront any Rushmore Plaza Civic Center extension is cost.
Cost has become a more prickly point as recently the civic center made news when its administrators chose to raise the nonprofit costs associated with rental of space. This action caused several local groups, like the Black Hills Symphony, to seek other locations to perform at.
Another associated expansion issue is time. For the last three decades, the civic center has served the city through thick and thin. From time to time, people have contemplated replacing the structure with a more up-to-date facility in an apparent effort to mimic the city of Sioux Falls.
The last two issues come down to the general population both in and around Rapid City. For residents of the city, the cost for an expansion venture would be from $125 million to $150 million.
This amount would be paid through the city’s Vision Fund that is fed by sales tax proceeds. This fund, which usually is used for other civic improvements, would be, for the most part, drained for several years to pay off this project.
The other issue is the cost to the people who use the facility.