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$64 million of requests but only $24 million of funds, who will get a slice of the Rapid City Vision Fund pie?

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 4:17 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Rapid City Vision Fund Committee is hearing 11 of 23 presentations Wednesday. Each project is asking for a slice of the 24-million dollar pie that’s been accumulated from the Rapid City Vision Fund Sales Tax over the last three years.

Chairman of the Vision Fund Citizens Committee, Kevin Maher, says there are nine members who each have an opinion on the matter, and they’ve visited the sites before the groups present.

Mayor Steve Allender says it’s a credit to the community to have citizens sit on the committee and hear the applications, choose the right ones and then present them to City Council.

Maher says with more than 60-million dollars worth of asks, it will be tough to allocate only 24-million dollars of funds.

”We’ve gone out and visited some of these projects. There’s a lot of very great projects out there and we’re not going to be able to fund them all. So, we’re going to have to say no. So, we have to really try and make the best decisions. What’s best for the vision of the city,” says Maher.

As it stands, two of the projects have been deemed by the City to not meet the requirements. Those projects were at Trinity Eco Prayer Park and The Cave Collective. Allender says there’s nothing against those projects, but calls the Vision Fund ordinance very specific in its requirements.

Rapid City’s Youth City Council also play a role in the decision making, where two high-school aged members act as consultants. Allender says that serves to give a glimpse into the minds of the youth, who he says are a valuable part of the community.

He adds that he treats the Vision Committee like a jury, and that he’s available to answer questions, but doesn’t play a role in how they come to their decisions.

He says the Vision Fund is a community decision rather than a government one.

”It’s only right that a representation of the citizens would be the ones making the decisions on how it’s spent. It’s a very important relationship,” says Allender, “and this vision process is carefully laid out in City ordinance so there’s little wiggle room for us to veer off track.”

The applicants will continue to present their projects through Thursday.

Allender says it won’t be decided which projects will be funded until December.

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