Rapid City Council blocks Hope Center’s move due to community safety concerns

Hope Center move is blocked by Rapid City Council.
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 10:58 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The debate over the Hope Center moving locations continued at the Rapid City Council meeting Tuesday night, and the city council approved the appeal of the move.

As of Tuesday night, the Hope Center in downtown Rapid City has a year before potentially closing its doors for good after the council approved an appeal, essentially blocking the center’s plans to move to a new location at 630 East Blvd N. The vote was eight to one, with Councilman Bill Evans lodging the sole dissenting vote. With this council decision, a spokesperson says the outlook for keeping the Hope Center open looks bleak.

“We have already spent quite a bit of money and are a year and a half into the process of dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s, so to start over at this point, there’s just clearly not enough time,” said the Hope Center’s executive director Melanie Timm.

After the decision preventing the Hope Center from moving and possibly putting the future of the organization in jeopardy, the discussion Tuesday night centered on the community’s concerns about safety in that area if the Hope Center were to be moved.

The decision also comes after a petition with just under 150 signatures from residents in that community opposing the move was presented to the council during the meeting. Five members of that community who were present and voiced their thoughts on the move were able to sway the council.

“The council understands the need for these services but is concerned that the new location is in a residential neighborhood and how it would impact that neighborhood,” said Rapid City Council Ward 5 Rod Pettigrew.

“The main reason is just that it’s a sleepy little family neighborhood. There are kids playing, there are trampolines, there are bikes, and we didn’t feel that it was in the best interest of the integrity of the neighborhood to move the Hope Center to that location,” said Rapid City Council Ward 1 Josh Biberdorf.

The Hope Center’s lease is up in September 2024. They now have just one year before potentially having to close their doors permanently if nothing can be figured out by then.

If you are interested in reading the letters that were sent to the council in regard to the Hope Center, you can head to the Rapid City website.