A $1.2 million project to remake west Memorial Park appears likely to begin next spring after the city’s legal and finance committee members expressed unanimous support at Tuesday’s meeting.

The rectangular area of Memorial Park contained between Interstate 190 and Eighth Street, and Omaha Street and Rapid Creek, will see extensive renovations as drainage improvements, landscaping and a new bike path are incorporated into the largely empty expanse just south of Rapid City Central High School.

“It’s kind of an overhaul of a park area that’s kind of been neglected a little bit,” said city engineer Rod Johnson during Tuesday's meeting.

Included in the conceptual design is the creation of a stormwater management area, including a micro pool, where stormwater collected from west of Mount Rushmore Road could be stored and remediated before flowing into Rapid Creek.

The existing bike path will also be regraded and paved as certain segments of the route are noncompliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act due to overly steep slopes.

Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the project to the public will be the creation of a new bike path and the influx of shrubbery and trees along the park area’s borders. The new bike path will wind around the stormwater management area and trace the park’s southern border just north of Omaha Street before linking with another north and south section adjacent to the sidewalk on Eighth Street.

“It will basically be an alternate route if we’re in a flooded condition,” Johnson said of the new route, which will bypass the current path that crosses over an existing drainage channel that can be overtaken with storm water during heavy rains.

The first phase of the project, which includes the drainage work and improvements to the existing bike path, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The second phase, which will see the construction of the new bike route, is expected to commence in 2019 and be completed by 2020, Johnson said after the meeting.

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In other action, committee members recommended:

• Authorizing staff to submit requests for proposals for a traffic study of east Rapid City, including S.D. Highway 44, East Omaha, Cambell and East North streets, and North Valley/Camden drives. The study comes as “recent and continuing development in eastern Rapid City has led to a shift in traffic patterns,” said city engineer Kip Harrington in a city memo. “Numerous traffic issues have surfaced, including disparate lane usage, turn lane congestion and intersection delay.” The study, which will provide recommendations for potential infrastructure improvements to help offset these issues, is expected to cost $150,000 and be completed by December 2018.

• Beginning the bidding process for a project to repair and improve a section of East St. Joseph Street from East St. Patrick to Cambell streets. Improvements will include asphalt overlay and patching, curb and gutter spot repairs, pedestrian signal upgrades, and the construction of an ADA compliant intersection at East St. Joseph and East St. Patrick streets. The project, which will begin in April and is expected to be completed in June, is estimated to cost $400,000.

• Beginning the bidding process for a project to build a new starter shack at Meadowbrook Golf Course near the current practice putting green and driving range. The new shack would be constructed at a different location than the current starter structure, which lies in the floodway, and would include restrooms and storage space. The project is estimated to cost $275,000.

Contact Samuel Blackstone at samuel.blackstone@rapidcityjournal.com and follow him on Twitter or Facebook @SDBlackstone.

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City reporter for the Rapid City Journal

City reporter for the Rapid City Journal.