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Parking Meters

Parking spaces await vehicles on St Joseph Street in Rapid City on Wednesday morning. The city plans to install another 620 parking meters in the downtown.

Parking on Main Street will cost you a dollar an hour starting in June.

The Rapid City Council on Monday cleared the way for parking meters to be deployed downtown. An ordinance authorizing their installation was adopted Monday 6-3.

Councilmembers Becky Drury, Ritchie Nordstrom, Steve Laurenti, Chad Lewis, Amanda Scott and Darla Drew all voted in favor of the measure, while Lisa Modrick, Jason Salamun and John Roberts voted against it. Councilmember Laura Armstrong was not present for the meeting. 

Modrick said during the meeting that she would have preferred the council delay a vote on the matter and that she believed more public input should have been sought earlier in policy-making process.

"If the cart-before-the-horse is the right way for to the city to act, then that's what it is," she said.

Meters that the city purchased in February for more than $700,000 could appear as early as next month along Main and St. Joseph streets between Fifth and Ninth streets — where free three-hour parking is currently offered — and along Sixth, Seventh and Ninth streets. They will accept payment by coin, card and mobile app, charging 25 cents for 15 minutes of time with a $1 minimum for card users.

City staff recently tweaked their parking management plan to allow for half-off parking on Saturdays. Changes to that plan also lowered the fine for meter violations from $25, which several business owners and councilmembers openly said was too high, to $15. A measure solidifying the reduced fine and other city fees was also adopted.

A related ordinance that the city council adopted last night stripped existing language on parking regulations out of municipal code. It also passed 6-3, with Modrick, Salamun and Roberts again opposing.

Regulatory duties fall now to a seven-person citizen advisory board that the ordinance created. The office of mayor now has authority to appoint members to that board who are subject to confirmation by the city council. Officials have previously said that they envision four of those seats being reserved for downtown business owners and residents.

The board will hear parking ticket appeals and have the authority to recommend parking policy to the council.

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Proponents of the move, such as councilmembers Chad Lewis and Steve Laurenti, have said that a board can respond more quickly to parking concerns than the council can on its own. But other members of the council, like Modrick, have expressed concerns that a board would be less democratic.

"When changes need to be made," Laurenti said, "this parking board will be able to react because it will have people who are invested in it directly."

With their vote Monday night, members of the council also approved the creation of an on-street parking permit program. Permit zones proposed in the parking management policy include Main Street and St. Joseph streets from East Boulevard to Fifth Street, Kansas City Street from First Street to West Boulevard, Quincy Street from Fifth Street to West Boulevard and parts of Mount Rushmore Road and Sixth, Seventh and Apolda streets, all of which will otherwise allow free two-hour parking.

Permits would allow their holders to park on specific blocks for $30 a month with proof of residency.

LaCroix Links project bid out

Rapid City is on track to develop its third disc golf course.

The city council last night unanimously voted to advertise an $80,000 project for bids that would turn the former LaCroix Links Golf Course into a disc golf course with foot-and-bike paths. It would also continue to function as a public park as it has since last summer, when the Rapid City YMCA quit leasing it.

The organization had operated the course on lease from the city since 2003 but was ultimately not able to keep up with staffing and maintenance costs.

The City Parks and Recreation Division intends for the disc golf course to be open to the public for use at no charge. Development costs would cover the cost of installing concrete tee pads, benches, signage and hard-surface paths linking the course's clubhouse, parking lot and playground.

Rapid City's other two disc golf courses are located on Jackson Boulevard and on Omaha Street, respectively.

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