SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Although a developer associated with the the project said the proposed Libertyland USA theme park and resort near Rapid City was coming in 2026, the most recent city action taken related to the project was about a year ago.
The city’s planning commission approved re-zoning a parcel for a resort village, commercial and entertainment and RV resort on Nov. 28, 2022. The council approved the zoning change on Dec. 19. The zone was specifically created for the proposed uses, a city official said this week.
The entities associated with the proposed theme park and residential area in 2022 were Ferber Engineering Co. Inc. and Dakota Storytellers LCC, according to minutes from the Nov. 23, 2022, planning commission meeting.
Vicki Fisher, Rapid City’s Community Development Director, said at the Nov. 23 planning commission meeting that the theme park and other pieces would be developed in two phases and proposed to build out in 2030, according to meeting minutes.
The property that was re-zoned is east of North LaCrosse Street and north of Mall Drive.
Storyland Studios, a designer/developer associated with the proposed Libertyland USA, announced on X (formerly Twitter) that theme park and resort were coming to South Dakota in 2026.
Based on its website, Storyland Studios has extensive experience with theme parks, RV parks and similar publicly-owned and privately-owned projects in California, Tennessee and Florida. Sports Illustrated, with its resort plan, Knott’s Berry Farm and Lego, with a LEGOLAND Water Park, are among its listed clients.
In Elsinore, California, Storyland worked with the city’s lakeside campground.
Jovanny Huerta, the city’s public information officer, said Storyland transformed the city’s lakeside campground. “It was not a popular destination,” Huerta said. The city wanted the campground area to match its 2040 plan and its “Dream Extreme” future program, he said.
Storyland did that, he said.
“We’re extremely happy with the design,” Huerta said. The campground that wasn’t popular was transformed into an upscale RV park that has vintage trailers, yurts and spots for other trailers and campers. The variety of options appeals to campers looking to stay for several months during the winter to those who like “glamping” and will stay in a yurt, Huerta said.
Huerta said that while the park was upgraded it remains affordable. The website lists a two night stay in a 1948 Palace Royal trailer at $150 for each night plush additional fees.
Storyland renamed the area Launch Pointe and provided the slogan “Your Adventure Starts Here.”
Storyland is working with Storyville Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee. The website for Storyville Gardens said it was coming in 2025. The website also says there are still investor opportunities. There’s a link to click to complete a form to submit for investor opportunities.
Darrell Shoemaker, the communications manager for the city of Rapid City, said the zoning changes on the proposed theme park property will remain until the city would decide to change the zoning. There is no deadline attached to the zoning change, he said.
KELOLAND News reached out to Storyland and Joe Brannan of Pete Lien and Sons, who is associated with the project but did not hear back as of deadline. Brannan is a member of the Chuck Lien family. Lien was involved in the mining company of Pete Lien and Sons and was an advocate for Rapid City.