RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Rapid City has grown by tens of thousands of people over the last 40 years and changed quite a bit.
Decades ago, Mayor Steve Allender was a police officer in Rapid City when the area looked a little different than it does now.
“The downtown area was nothing like it is today,” Allender said.
Since then, thousands more people have moved to the area. there’s been an increase in crime, homelessness, and a lack of housing.
“And some of those underlying issues are mental health,” Ritchie Nordstrom, Councilman Ward 2, said.
However, there has also been positive change in the community, including infrastructure, expansions, and building relationships.
Right here in downtown Rapid City, you’ll notice a lot of the historic buildings are still here. Mayor Allender says that’s because the city’s infrastructure is expanding outside the area, which is what a lot of bigger cities look like.
Allender and City Councilman Ritchie Nordstrom say a lot has been done in the community to create positive change, but there is a lot more to do.
“So they are going to have a lot issues in order to get passed that hurdle,” Nordstrom said.
With new leaders coming to the Rapid City Council, it’s important to remember that the citizens also play a key role in making change.
“Those individuals should be able to help guide and steer the mayor and council moving forward and to keep on this positive track that we are on,” Allender said.
Both Mayor Allender and Councilman Nordstrom will be retiring this year from the City government. Allender served 8 years in his role and Nordstrom served 12. Their last day will be July 3rd.