For more than three decades, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City has hosted state tournaments, concerts and more. But a new events center under construction in Sioux Falls could mean competition for the aging facility.
However, the Rushmore Plaza hopes to use the challenge to its advantage.
It was a busy weekend in Rapid City where the Class A Boys Basketball Tournament was decided Saturday night. It's just the type of event the facility was built to handle.
"It really was designed and opened to ensure that the City of Rapid City could have the state boys basketball tournaments, and really everything beyond that has just been a plus," Rushmore Plaza Civic Center's general manager Brian Maliske said.
Maliske says the tournament brought in 25-thousand people from all around the state. But with the Denny Sanford Premier Center being built in Sioux Falls, that could soon change.
"If they desire, as we hear, to pull all of the state tournaments to Sioux Falls it's going to hurt Rapid City culturally, it's going to hurt Rapid City economically, and it's going to hurt Rapid City as a community," Maliske said.
The state tournaments aren't the only things at risk.
The civic center hosts around one-thousand events every year, bringing in an estimated $80-million to Rapid City's economy.
"We don't simply cater to Rapid City. In fact, our average ticketed event is 63-percent of the people are not from Rapid City proper," Maliske said.
But where some see risk, Maliske sees an opportunity for the Rushmore Plaza to get in on some of the big name artists and events that may otherwise skip the state's second largest city.
"If we are able to increase the size of our facility we have a natural route that has not existed since the 80's, that being Denver, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Minneapolis; it's an absolutely natural route," Maliske said.
For that to happen, the citizens of Rapid City would need to follow the lead of those in Sioux Falls.
"So in one way Sioux Falls is helping us by saying, look, we're moving to the future. In another way it's challenging us. Are you moving to the future? And that's what we need to look at," Maliske said.
Last summer, a city appointed task force released plans for what a new arena could look like in Rapid City. Regardless of whether or not it is approved, the facility will need to be renovated to meet ADA standards, which could cost millions.