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October 08, 2010 06:06 PM

One Small Town Defying Odds

Hermosa, SD


Future growth in today's economy was a hot topic among city leaders in the state as they gathered in Rapid City over the past two days. And one western South Dakota town seemed to stand out among the rest.

The small town of Hermosa started out as a train hub with only one well, deteriorating water lines and a rundown road running going through it. But that's all changed.

"We've come through and we've got another well. We've got a bigger lagoon system; we got new water lines.  We just completed a project where we've got a new highway running through our town with a nice sidewalk," Town Board President Dan Holsworth said.

Holsworth came to town 18 years ago. He said the growth has simply been amazing.

"When I came to town, there was a 197 residents; we're now just under 500," Holsworth said.

Brooke Rhoads moved to Hermosa a little more than a year ago.  She, too, has seen the growth first-hand.

"Since I've been here quite a few people have moved in and then since I've been working at the town office, which has been all summer, we've had a handful of people move to town," Rhoads said.

Many of South Dakota's smaller towns have only gotten smaller. So, what's so different about this one?

Rhoads said one of the nice things about living in Hermosa is that it's small enough where you can literally walk down the middle of the street, but almost anything is just a short drive away.

"It's a good location. We're centrally located with Keystone 15 miles away, Custer State Park and the Badlands," Rhoads said.

Holsworth said you can’t just look at the past; it's what's set up for the future that really matters.

"We have a development down there that now is basically set up for 42 more residents to be put in. We're hoping for somebody to come in and offer an assisted living in and amongst this," Holsworth said.

He hopes that will bring in a bigger tax base, allow seniors to stay in town instead of retiring in an unfamiliar place and set up the town for an affordable future.

The city also has plans to run a water line to the west side of Highway 79, which runs by Hermosa, so it can begin development there as well.
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