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Deb Jensen is the president of the Mount Rushmore Road Group. She has been named one of the Rapid City Journal's 11 in 2011. (Ryan Soderlin/Journal staff)

One of Deb Jensen’s fondest memories is cruising on Mount Rushmore Road as a teenager.

Now, Jensen is a business owner helping to transform the business corridor into an attractive, welcoming route through Rapid City.

Jensen, who owns Black Hills Bagels with her husband, Jack Jensen, is president of the Mount Rushmore Road Group. The organization started five years ago, with Jensen and a handful of business owners who recognized the street’s importance.

“It wasn’t that we thought we had an idea that we could rebuild the road, but we thought that we could make a road a lot prettier,” she said.

A core group that included Pat Weiss, Bob Rick, Gary Brown and Jensen has evolved into an organization with more than 60 members.

With the state and city poised to begin an overhaul of the road in 2014, the Mount Rushmore Road Group will to do everything it can to help businesses along the route survive during construction.

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Jensen’s group is keeping a careful eye on the zoning and design guidelines being considered as the $19.3 million project moves through the planning process.

“This road is an important corridor, not only for businesses and for residents, but also an important corridor for our medical facilities, so we need to make it safe. We need to make it convenient, and we also need to make it attractive,” she said. “If we do those things, I think the businesses will benefit. The whole community will benefit.”

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