Improvements to Art Alley were considered too big to tackle and were taken off the list of possible future projects that the Business Improvement District board was considering at its meeting Thursday evening.

While many on the board believe there are issues with the alley that must be addressed, consensus from the members was that it was not something they wanted to pursue.

BID board president and downtown building owner Terry Nelson believes Art Alley has degenerated into a target for random graffiti and crime. He said, however, that is a problem for the city to confront.

"If anything is going to get done, it has to come from the mayor on down," Nelson said. "It is the heart of Rapid City, and we need to deal with it. I love downtown, but I’m concerned about Art Alley."

Others don't see the latest incarnation of Art Alley as such a big problem.

"I don't think its as bad as everybody indicated," said Dan Senftner, president of Destination Rapid City, who added that the group's Downtown Green Clean Team is in Art Alley every day cleaning up trash and covering up obscene or unwanted graffiti.

Senftner said the idea of undertaking improvements to the alley is under consideration, but he did not elaborate Friday.

"It's under review, but I think we need to decide how serious it is or is not," he said.

After the success of Main Street Square, the BID board is under some pressure to choose a project that will appeal to all business and building owners downtown and have a positive economic impact.

Other projects that were taken off the table include building facade restoration, snow removal, sidewalk repair and encouraging residential housing downtown.

Projects still under consideration include pedestrian safety upgrades, pocket parks and improved lighting downtown.

The meeting set for Feb. 13 was canceled and will be rescheduled next week.

Contact Jennifer Naylor Gesick at 394-8415 or

(1) comment


After fixing the headline, the Journal needs to ask why facade improvement was taken off the table as a next step. There are several downtown buildings that could benefit, and successful grant and loan programs have already been demonstrated by numerous other cities in the Dakotas. Readers also need a fresh accounting of the budgets of both the BID board and Destination Rapid City. Is there really money available to pursue something else right now? How much? Is the square self-sufficient yet? What is the timeline for that? Or is DRC just going to shoulder the excess revenue demand for years to come?

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