From the moment in early 2016 when the P.U.M.A. team arrived to kick off the downtown planning process, it was obvious Rapid City leaders were eager to learn how to transform their downtown into a thriving urban core.

Witnessing proactive and quick implementation of plan strategies is every urban planner’s dream. So we were thrilled to learn that public and private stakeholders were hard at work over the past year bringing to life several of P.U.M.A.’s recommendations from the downtown area master plan.

Today, when you visit St. Joseph Street, you’ll see how downtown Rapid City has been quick to embrace the plan’s façade design recommendations. Look no further than favorite local hangouts like Cranky’s Bike Shop and the Brass Rail Lounge (see photo below).

And, while zoning might bore some to tears, we’re giddy that some downtown area master plan zoning tactics have been enacted: zoning reform paves the way for mixed use projects, like the vacant building-turned-coffee/retail/housing development east of 5th Street.

Exciting us even more is that an innovation incubator might soon grace a property near the School of Mines and Technology, an area the plan identified as a key activity center. The City is donating land for the project. Mayor Steve Allender wrote, “There has been a great deal of planning and preparation leading up to this point…this project is seen by all in the economic development community, as well as those representing the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, as a win-win and a great example of a public/private partnership.”

Rapid City’s forward-thinking leadership and strong city-university partnership undoubtedly facilitated quick implementation and continued momentum for the downtown area master plan. Click to view the plan.

Before (left) and after façade improvements on St. Joseph St., Rapid City