South Dakota– Rapid City Council members support the construction of a new, $130 million arena. The council will issue $110 million in sales tax revenue bonds and lease certificates of participation to fund the construction. The city currently has about $25 million in reserve for an initial payment. The council was asked to consider either building a new arena or renovating and remodeling the existing Barnett Arena, which has functional, life safety and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues.
An updated feasibility study shows that the operating income for the new 12,000- to 13,000-seat arena would increase by $2.8 million annually. Construction costs are estimated between $130 and $135 million, but with interest, that figure would be closer to $180 million.
The city lost about $700,000 on a design project during the last consideration of building a new arena in 2015. The city plans to hold off on a final decision to build a new arena because the community can petition for a public vote. Two-thousand signatures will be required for a public vote to be issued. The deadline for petition, is March 20. If enough signatures are gathered, a public vote will be set for June 5. If a public vote occurs and the project is voted down, the city plans to go with the Barnett Arena renovation.