Just as the weather is getting warmer, plans for a new bike trail are beginning to move forward.
Riders will be able to bike or hike from Rapid City all the way to Kadoka.
The proposed $21 million project would start in Rapid City, off the Leonard Swanson Memorial Pathway, head east along Highway 44 into the Badlands and finish up in Kadoka.
Jerry Cole, of Future Focus Consulting, is working with the city on the project. He said the city just accepted a grant from the state to begin phase one.
He said one of the hurdles the project is facing is management after it’s completed.
“Outside of Rapid City boundaries is where the hurdle comes from. And that is, who will manage the trail once it’s built. We still have to find organizations to manage the trail, whether that would be the state, whether that would be a local entity, or a non-profit organization. That’s probably the biggest hurdle right now,” Cole said.
The health impact, as well as the economic impact for both Rapid City and Kadoka, is substantial.
"Millions of dollars would be brought into the community along the trail and on each end. The health benefit, you can't put in terms of dollars and cents," Cole said. “The health benefits to Rapid City and Kadoka and
Not everyone is happy about the project.
Cole says some ranchers and property owners along the trail would rather see it used by trains again or sold to them. Though the ranchers and property owners don’t like the idea, he said they would benefit.
“The ranchers along the way would be able to hike and bike along this section of the trail. There is no place out there where they can recreate in this way,” Cole said.
He says the short section of the project could be finished by 2016 or early 2017. There is no date yet for completion of the entire project, but he thinks that could take about 10 years.
The plan is to work on the project on both ends and meet in the middle.