Fresh from the success of its inaugural Main Street Square project, the Downtown Business Improvement District board is looking for new ways to improve downtown Rapid City.

The BID board will host a town hall forum at 7 p.m. today to find out what local residents and downtown property owners in particular want to see next.

"We just encourage people to come," board president Terry Nelson said Monday. "That's what (the meeting) is  for, the sharing of ideas for downtown Rapid City."

The BID was formed three years ago with the goal of improving downtown Rapid City. Funding comes from a special tax levied on downtown properties, which generates about $175,000 per year.

Main Street Square was the first recipient of those funds in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Starting next year, though, it's up for grabs.

"Nothing has been decided," said Nelson, although it has been suggested that since the first project was in Zone 1 — the central core of downtown — the next project should be in Zone 2, which surrounds Zone 1.

Projects proposed so far include pocket parks, Art Alley improvements, historic lighting, improved parking, facade improvements and traffic safety measures.

The BID board hopes to hear more ideas tonight. Downtown property owners were notified of the meeting by mail but the public is welcome, Nelson said. Plans are to ask each audience member to jot down an idea or two on paper, then compile those suggestions during the meeting.

"Some people are not as verbal as other people," Nelson explained. "The idea is that everyone in the room, if they want, could share their ideas."

Those ideas can be big ones. The BID board has authority to bond for larger projects if needed, Nelson noted.

"We're not set on 'it has to be less than $180,000 and it can only be for one year,'" he said.

The BID board will not take action tonight. It will meet again at 4 p.m. Thursday when Nelson said it may or may not decide what direction to take. That meeting is also open to the public.

Contact Heidi Bell Gease at 394-8419 or heidi.bellgease@rapidcityjournal.com.

 

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