Mount Rushmore
December 10, 2019

December Newsletter


Ascent Innovation Breaks Ground on Business Incubator in Rapid City's Downtown District

Rapid City Economic Development Foundation’s branch, Ascent Innovation, kicked off its expansion into Rapid City's downtown district with a groundbreaking for its new incubator on October 9th.  Not only will this innovation campus establish additional opportunities for technology growth in western South Dakota; it will create a bridge between student talent and commercial industry housed within a legacy building.  Read more about the Rise of Innovation in the Black Hills here.  

Spearfish EDC Attends International Fly Tackle Dealer Show

Recognizing the attraction of Spearfish’s strong economic advantages, as well the area’s outdoor recreation/active lifestyle appeal, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) is working diligently to recruit additional outdoor product companies to the community.    As part of those efforts, SEDC Executive Director Kory Menken recently attended the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) tradeshow in Denver.  IFTD is the largest international gathering of fly-fishing manufacturers, retailers, sales reps, media and fly-fishing organizations in the world.     “This show provided SEDC with a unique opportunity to share the Spearfish story directly with key decision makers and influencers from throughout the fly-fishing industry,” said Menken.  “Our proactive participation in strategic tradeshows is an important component of our outdoor company recruitment campaign.  Spearfish is not alone in our efforts to capture a share of the expanding outdoor product economy.  In today’s competitive business recruitment environment, it is not enough to simply sit back and hope people take notice.”   “Spearfish is fortunate to already be home to several outdoor-centric businesses,” explained Menken. “SEDC is working hard to attract, foster and encourage more companies of this nature, as they create the type of clean industry and quality employment opportunities our community desires.”   SEDC’s participation in tradeshows has been complemented by placing strategic advertisements in regional and national lifestyle and trade publications, and by boosting their social media and digital marketing presence.     

FORWARD HILL CITY Housing Project Launches  

The Heart of the Hills Economic Development Corp. (HOHEDC) in Hill City is pleased to announce the groundbreaking ceremony for the new FORWARD HILL CITY Housing Project onDecember 4th at 2:00 pm. The ground breaking ceremony will be held at the Top O Hill Avenue and Buds Drive intersection in Hill City.   On Monday November 25th, the Hill City Common Council voting unanimously to approve a long awaited $2 million-dollar Tax Increment Financing District (TIFD) for the FORWARD HILL CITY housing project. The TIFD will provide for infrastructure in the area of the development including paved streets, sidewalks, and water and sewer lines.  This valiant project is the result of two years of research, planning, number crunching, overcoming obstacles and finally securing property and a developer by HOHEDC. HOHEDC feels that in order to enhance the long term sustainability and vitality of Hill City it must first and foremost take the lead on what it entitled “Attainable Housing”- housing that a two-income family with children can afford in Hill City, which is $175,000 to  $250,000. According to the Hill City Housing Study that was completed in 2018 and first-hand testimony from local realtors and home buyers, the inventory of houses in this price range has been severely limited or non-existent to date. In order to make the project a reality, HOHEDC found an angel investor to secure the 6.5 acres on Top O Hill Avenue and then recruited experienced local developer, Jim Scull, Pink Cabin LLC, who has the good of Hill City at heart. A TIFD was needed to recover the extensive infrastructure costs to be invested by the developer so that they would not be included in the price of the lots and price the homes out of the target range. Model homes will be constructed once the project plan has been finalized. The value of the development property when completed is estimated at over $7 million dollars.  A first time home buyer class has been developed and is ready to implement in Hill City as soon as the lots are available. In addition, other sources of assistance are being contacted to help lower the costs of home ownership. The December 4th ground breaking ceremony is open to the public. All are welcome. For more information about the FORWARD HILL CITY Housing project call Chris, EDC Coordinator, at Heart of the Hills Economic Development Corp. at 605-574-9454.

Elevate Rapid City Hires New Leader

Elevate Rapid City, Rapid City's economic development organization, hired its first permanent President and Chief Executive Officer this fall, Tom Johnson.  Johnson most recently worked at Colorado State University (CSU) as the director of community engagement and economic development.  Previous to his work at CSU, Johnson was the Chief Performance Officer for Wyoming Business Council.  "Tom's knowledge of community engagement, regional and national economic development, and business valuation will prove extremely beneficial as he leads this organization to new heights," wrote Pat Burchill, Elevate's outgoing interim CEO.  Learn more about Tom here.  

Analytic Data Helps Attract New Hot Springs Retailer

Months before SHOPKO formally announced its bankruptcy and closure of all store locations, the Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation (SHEDCO) employed proactive recruitment efforts to bring a new retail opportunity to Hot Springs. Using analytic data available through the Rushmore Region’s economic modeling software, SHEDCO was able to present a compelling case to Bomgaars Supply, Inc. Bomgaars, a farm and ranch retail chain headquartered in Sioux City, Iowa, acquired the former SHOPKO building and immediately took steps to open a 45,000 sq. ft. retail store to help fill the void in this rural community, and hired 20 employees. Bomgaars offers an expanded inventory of clothing, farm/ranch/pet supplies, tools, seasonal merchandise, hardware, exterior paints, lawn and garden, work clothing, footwear and more. They operate 86 stores nationwide.

Belle Fourche Rail Park Expands Capacity

The Belle Fourche Industrial and Rail Park specializes in intermodal freight capabilities for the Rushmore Region, and it continues to grow. A new access road and additional siding space were recently completed to serve new and existing rail customers. The additional 600 feet of siding accommodates offloading equipment (approximately 10 rail cars), and the new access road allows for easier truck maneuvering by creating an east-west drive through. The 115-acre industrial and rail park is a South Dakota Certified Ready Site, with approximately 74 acres remaining for development. The rail park is accessible to the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern (RCP&E) short line railroad which connects with three Class 1 rail partners: Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and Canadian Pacific.  

GOED Commissioners Meet with Rushmore Region Alliance

This fall, the Rushmore Region Alliance had the honor of hosting meetings with South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Commissioner Steve Westra and Deputy Commissioner Mary Lehecka Nelson. They both offered their perspectives on various GOED programs. The meetings also provided an opportunity to discuss ways in which continued State and local partnerships will ensure a strong economy in the Black Hills. 

GOED Staff Conducts Black Hills Training Event

In October, the Rushmore Region Alliance coordinated an educational seminar entitled “Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Growth.” A tax analyst and marketing staff from the SD Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) presented seminars in Sturgis and Hot Springs that highlighted the state’s economic strengths, including wage, salary, tax, and growth comparisons, among other topics. This customized training was designed for elected officials, community leaders, and development organizations. Over 100 people attended the two day seminars. The free event was hosted by Black Hills Energy.

Wall Hosts Economic Development 101 Seminar

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and West River Business Service Center recently presented an educational seminar to members of the Wall community hosted by Wall Economic Development. Attendees included  elected officials, economic development board members, and community leaders. The seminar titled “An Economic Development Road Trip: Where is Your Community Headed?”, included economic development best practices and tools, how communities can prepare for growth, and the roles of government, development organizations, businesses, and residents. It was one of a series of regional capacity building events available to Rushmore Region communities interested in learning more about economic development. The free event was sponsored by West River Electric.

Custer Area Economic Development Corporation Receives Award

Congratulations to Custer Area Economic Development Corporation's Health & Wellness Team for receiving the Community Innovation Award from Dakota Resources.  The team engaged a broad base of local organizations, businesses, and community members in order to move the dial on a number of health and wellness initiatives in the Custer community.  Some accomplishments include the completion of a Healthy Hometown Walk Audit, designing wayfinding signage for the community's parks; a report detailing recreational providers; and, the adoption of a nicotine-free policy for all City parks and facilities. 

Small Business Revolution Coming to Spearfish   

Spearfish made Small Business Revolutions’ (SBR) Top 10 cities and is now in contention for $500,000 and being featured on Season 5 of the popular television show. Spearfish was nominated and chosen as a Top 10 Finalist from amongst thousands of cities. The coming weeks will determine which of the 10 cities will be chosen to receive $500,000 to be integrated into the local business community.    Small Business Revolution, championed by Deluxe and hosted by Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington, is a documentary series about the power of small business. Each season a single community is chosen by popular vote to receive guidance from industry experts and small business marketing specialists to invigorate downtowns and local businesses.    “Those familiar with Spearfish already know about the exciting progress and positive changes our community is experiencing. Being a finalist on Small Business Revolution will help share the Spearfish story with potential new businesses, residents and visitors,” said Kory Menken, Executive Director of Spearfish Economic Development Corporation.   Small Business Revolution Championed by Deluxe can be viewed here.    

Registered Apprenticeship Program Expands  

The StartTodaySD Apprenticeship Program, part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship system, helps meet the skilled workforce needs of industry by providing workforce with structured, paid, on-the-job learning in construction, manufacturing, health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications, and more. The SD Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) recently awarded $140,000 in incentive funding to help Black Hills' businesses expand by utilizing the Registered Apprenticeships Program. These diverse businesses include: The Kitchen at Bear Butte Gardens, Sturgis; Foltz and Sons, Spearfish; Mind Blown Studio, Deadwood; and Black Hills Works, Hot Rod Institute, Lester Robbins, and TelNet PC in Rapid City. “Registered Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to build a quality workforce with the exact skills they need to fill their openings,” said SD DLR Secretary Marcia Hultman. “We have a pool of untapped workers ready to learn new skills, and this will expand training opportunities, especially in rural communities.” 

BHCED Awarded South Dakota Community Foundation Grant  

Black Hills Community Economic Development (BHCED) was recently awarded a $10,000 Community Innovation Grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation. The funds will be directed to the Rushmore Region Alliance, an economic development initiative of the BHCED. The goal of the project is to strengthen partnerships by providing local leaders with the tools to move the region’s economy forward.