Road construction leads to financial destruction for downtown businesses

As necessary as roadwork is, Hot Springs construction eats into profits.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:44 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Businesses in downtown Hot Springs are losing foot traffic due to ongoing construction.

The City of Hot Springs borrowed $1.9 million from the Department of Transportation; to redo the main roads and downtown, which has been ongoing for a year, and businesses are suffering due to lack of access.

“Within the last 30 days, a 35% reduction in revenue, and then with that reduction, you have difficulty paying bills, you’re not able to forecast very well as far as projecting scheduling inventory, so it kind of becomes like a slippery slope,” says Wandering Bison Coffee owner Heather Zortman.

“So with the tourist’s foot traffic and not having them come through our front door and maybe take a detour, then we are not relying on capturing those dollars, it could be going somewhere else,” said Zortman.

As it’s the beginning of tourist season, parking for customers has been a hassle.

“Just yesterday, we had someone complaining about how far she had to walk, which it’s sad for people who are elderly. And that was one of the people actually yesterday complaining about it. So yeah, because we used to have parking just right up front, and they could just walk right through the door,” said Red Dirt and Pearls Boutique sales associate Kacy Carpenter.

According to Zortman, the state has been very transparent with communication to the business throughout the construction process and it could be all done by the end of 2024.

“Just hold on a couple of years we’re out of it. It’s gonna be beautiful. So it’s just getting through it, and we will,” said Zortman.