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Public input wanted for Rapid City future Vision

todayJuly 8, 2024 3

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Rapid City, S.D. (KELO) — Should a citizen committee continue to help shape the future of South Dakota’s second-largest city?

That’s the question at the center of a growing debate in Rapid City.

Since 1972 the Vision Fund has helped fund several community-driven projects.

The City Council is set to meet one week from today to discuss and vote on whether to keep the Vision Fund Citizen Committee.

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“We feel that the change to the Vision Fund with the ordinance, there might be some good things in there, but it seems like something us voters should have input on, if we’re going to make a significant of a change that this does,” Liberty and Justice for All Rep Ben Sherman said.

The last round of Vision Fund projects started with 26 different options, but just five of those projects were funded and completed.

“I think it creates a lot of false hope, the way we did it in the past. Because it just lines up nonprofits asking for projects. And I think now by taking the requirement away from having a citizens committee, it allows the city council to have more control of the money. It does not mean we won’t get input from citizens,” Ward 3 Council Member Kevin Maher said.

Some people in the community worry that cutting the committee could hurt the community. 

“There’s less input from community members, so it puts all that control into the city. So there’s less oversight and less input. So we just want to make sure that people’s voices are heard, maybe both sides on this like whether or not you want it to change or see some change in it,” Sherman said.

“I think the public needs to know that we will continue to fund community projects, such as redoing the tennis courts. Someday we’re going to need a new rec center, we’re going to need another swimming pool. And so those projects will be part of the comprehensive plan the city is now redoing,” Maher said.

So, as the council seeks public input, members of Liberty and Justice for all are seeking signatures to put any changes to the Vision Fund to a public vote. 

The city council is scheduled to meet at 6:30 on Monday evening.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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