Rapid City’s halt on Hope Center relocation continues to cause reactions

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Monday-Friday
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 8:34 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Two weeks ago the Rapid City Council approved an appeal for the relocation of the Hope Center because of safety concerns raised by some residents in the neighborhood the center was supposed to move to.

Monday, during the council meeting, some people stepped up to the podium to criticize the council’s decision to halt the Hope Center’s relocation to 630 East Blvd N., asking the council to reconsider their decision or to help the center find a new location that would be deemed suitable.

“Tonight’s city council meeting exemplified how our community has become a community that values profit over people while we are failing to address the needs of people without homes and shutting down efforts by the Hope Center at the same time people are being evicted from their places at a record rate just so people can realize profits,” said Liberty & Justice For All member Annie Bachand. “The city council can do something about this by adjusting zoning; they can take a look at updating the requirements for single-family zoned properties; there are lots of opportunities; Montana just got this done, but our city council is more interested in profiteering than they are the people.”

“I am hurt to hear this permit was not approved. I spoke with one member of the board from each ward; some of you hid behind your votes, and some of you began to change your thoughts. Then, Bill Evans from Ward 2, his beliefs and passion that all people should be treated equally, was touching. I was homeless a long time ago. I only wish there was a great resource for me when I was down and out,” said a Rapid City resident during the meeting’s open comment. “There are several buildings that are commercially zoned; the building in question is zoned general commercial; why can’t the city help the Hope Center acquire a building.”

Rapid City’s mayor said if the center were to find a new location, the city would be willing to work with the center to figure out logistics.

“As far as the city, the planning director stands ready to help the Hope Center should they identify a location they want to move to, to see if there are any challenges to that location, or even just to scout potential locations with regards to zoning in the community,” said Rapid City Mayor Jason Salamun. “The city can do what we do for anybody else, and if they want to assess zoning locations that are appropriate for their use, we can do that, and we stand ready to do that just like we would with anybody else.”

As far as the council’s vote two weeks ago, the seven-to-one decision to appeal the relocation stands the same.