STURGIS | No pompoms or hometown pennants were waved, but a gathering to promote economic opportunities in Sturgis in early March had the feel of an old-time pep rally.
City Manager Daniel Ainslie and Sturgis Economic Development Corp. Director Pat Kurtenbach served as cheerleaders, giving an overview of past development successes and opportunities ripe for the picking.
“We’re getting the word out to let people know what we need,” Kurtenbach said. “It also helps people to understand where we have been and where we are headed.”
After the results of a housing study back in 2014 showed the need for all types of housing in Sturgis, the city and SEDC sought out developers to build homes.
“We had three developers come in who have added $35 million in construction following that,” Kurtenbach said.
Invites for Tuesday’s event were sent to contractors who are registered in Meade County as well as to larger construction contractors from Spearfish and Rapid City. Kurtenbach said she was pleased with the turnout and hopes it will result in some follow-up calls from contractors.
“Until we sit down at the table and talk to developers about what their plans are and what we are able to offer them, we won’t know what’s possible,” she said.
The meeting was a way of putting the hook in the water, Kurtenbach said. “It was our way of saying, ‘Take a look at us,’” she said.
Among those in attendance were Bradley Kurtz, president of Dean Kurtz Construction of Rapid City, along with Stephen Burgess, the company’s vice president of operations. Kurtz said he found the information presented valuable.
“It’s a little bit surprising at how aggressive they are getting, including providing incentives to get things going here,” he said.
Sturgis currently has about 240 acres of varying sized properties available for sale for both commercial and residential development, Ainslie said. Some measure only a quarter-acre on land adjacent Junction Avenue to 30 acres on either side Lazelle Street near Interstate 90’s Exit 30.
Among incentives offered to developers is Meade County’s 100 percent, five-year property tax abatement on commercial construction and on four-plex and larger housing.
Ainslie said the city also works to expedite its permitting process for developers along with offering tax increment finance districts, offers of revolving loan funds and flexible zoning.
“If you have specifics for a project, especially commercial, we would be happy to look at how we can assist you,” Ainslie said. “We don’t just have a package that we provide everyone. We want to meet with you to see what your needs are and how we might be able to fulfill those.”
Reprinted by permission of Deb Holland, Black Hills Pioneer