Rapid City, SD — In recognition of winning a 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, this grant will advance the organization's efforts to foster downtown Rapid City through economic development
Destination Rapid City has transformed downtown Rapid City into a thriving business district that is rich in appeal for residents and visitors alike. One of Destination Rapid City’s major achievements is Main Street Square, a buzzing village green that just three years ago was an aging parking lot flanked by empty storefronts and a porn shop. This profound, community-wide transformation came from extensive public dialogues among residents, downtown-area property owners, service clubs, the City Council and other City entities.
With fountain play in the summer, ice skating in the winter, and more than 200 free, family-oriented festivals and cultural events, Main Street Square attracts both tourists and locals from the surrounding Native and ranching communities, the nearby military base, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the increasing numbers of Hispanic and Asian residents. The high-profile, 21-piece granite public art Sculpture Project in Main Street Square provides an entry point to the arts for the whole community.
Through Destination Rapid City’s innovative development, small business activity has doubled in some cases and occupancy rates for business spaces are significantly higher. Dozens of new businesses have sprouted within a two-block radius, generating hundreds of new jobs and creating a vibrant downtown for the entire Rapid City community.