Ongoing construction sparks challenges for Hot Springs businesses

As road construction continues, businesses suffer a lose of foot traffic.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 9:00 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - After two years of continuous construction, businesses in the City of Hot Springs are facing economic challenges. The city anticipated the completion of roadwork sooner; however, old infrastructure is getting in the way.

“Aging pipes, water pipes, sewer pipes. Several businesses along River Street have had the sewer backup into their basements. That’s nine to 10 thousand dollars per time. One business down the street has had it happen three times, and that’s their personal expense. So it has a huge impact,” said South Dakota District 30 Representative Trish Ladner.

As construction challenges continue, it’s also making it harder for people to find parking when trying to support local businesses.

“It’s not fair. But the bigger picture is it’s not fair to any business owner, to wind up putting all your effort into creating jobs and being there for the community. Just to have a road project that is supposed to be 500 yards in front of our building. And that 500 yards is taken a year,” said 309 General owner Brent Estep.

Despite facing challenging times, one business owner remains resilient and determined to get the word out there.

“We’re doing a little duck promotion where if you find a little blue duck on the path. You know, bring it down to the Merc for free on-tap kombucha or Blue Moon, so we’re just trying to cross-market with Moccasins Springs so people that go visit there can come down here. We probably get 50% of our business from Moccasin Springs,” said Mercantile and Taproom; Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa owner Kara Hagens.

Ladner has suggested ideas to the city that she believes would help businesses, such as proposing a cut in sales tax. However, she says they’re limited in making that a reality.

“We’re checking another avenue out in the upcoming week just to see if there’s any help out there for us, as of now nothing. We just buckled down and are just grateful for the community that does come in to support us,” said Mornin’ Sunshine Coffee Shop owner Kim Moir.