Wall-Badlands Area Chamber of Commerce Meeting Minutes Monday, April 10, 2017
– By #Kelsey Walter
Chamber Board President Jackie Kusser call the meeting to order. Jonny Winn-Holsether led members in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dawn Hilgenkamp moved to approve minutes from the March 13 Chamber Luncheon with a second by Jackie Heathershaw. Motion carried.
Jackie made announcements of upcoming events for the chamber and the community.
City of Wall: Mayor Marty Huether spoke about the increase of income to the city from February 2017 sales tax compared to February of 2016. March also looks to be in line compared to last year. Marty encour-aged those in attendance to go look at the Wall Community Center as the new awning has been hung. Brick will be laid soon and sheet rock is being put up on the inside of the building. The remodel is right on track to be com-pleted by June 1. Property tax reassessments have been completed and Marty was pleased with the outcome. He stated the dramatic shift in property taxes was unfair to those that were affected and that the city would plan to be proactive for reassessments in the future.
Economic Development: Cheyenne McGriff was very excited to report that the Career Roundtable event was a success. At the conclusion, of the event many high school students said they now realize they can return to the Wall community to pursue a career from many different work opportunities. Cheyenne gave a report about Marketing Hometown America; roughly 50 community members attended the action planning forum to brainstorm different ideas to bring new members to the Wall community. Cheyenne presented a handout with a list of ideas for the project. She encouraged community members to act on any strategic planning ideas. Chey-enne was happy to announce The Wall Meat Processing Plant is under new ownership and they are taking orders. A grand opening event is tentatively set for early June. The next WEDC board meeting will be held April 12, at 5:30 PM and following the meeting will be a strategic planning session. WEDC is currently conducting a 2017 Wall Community Survey and would like everyone to please take the time to fill it out.
Celebration Committee: Cheyenne McGriff thanked everyone who attended the roller skating event on April 2. She also wanted to thank Carolynn Anderson for organizing the Easter Egg Hunt held on April 9, which was sponsored by the Celebration Committee. This year’s celebration theme is “Celebrate through the Decades.” The committee is working to get more community participation in this year’s parade by possibly offer-ing prizes. They are looking for community members to volunteer to help work during the Celebration. The next Celebration meeting will be held May 3 at 6:30 PM at the golf course.
Wall Crawl: Cheyenne McGriff invited everyone to ‘like’ the Wall Crawl Facebook Event Page. The Wall Crawl team is currently seeking volunteers to help with the event.
Badlands Bad River: Cheyenne McGriff: The BBR Job Fair and Business Expo that was held in Philip on March 28 had over 30 exhibitors, which was double from the previous year. High school students from Philip and Wall attended the event. Looking forward to next year, the committee is planning a more career-oriented and student-focused event. The next Badlands Bad River meeting time is to be determined.
School Report: Superintendent Cooper Garnos informed chamber members that Smarter Balance test-ing, a state mandated test, is taking place for the next three weeks for 3rd- 8th and 11th grade classes. This week, stu-dents in grades 4th- 8th will be testing. Cooper said spring events are beginning to take place, including: Track meets, Golf meets, Rodeo, Spring Play (April 29th & 30th), Student Council, FFA conventions, Spring Concerts and High School Graduation. The school will be accepting nominations for Teacher of the Year and the Hall of Fame. The ath-letic complex is near completion and on Friday, August 25, the dedication of the new facility will be held. Currently, the school is looking to fill positions for a Kindergarten teacher and a teacher for Big White School.
Badlands National Park: Mike Pflaum informed those in attendance that Cedar Pass Lodge will be opening April 15. Visitation to the park was down in the month January but was up for the months of February and possibly March. He said the Bison Stewardship Project has been approved and will open 23,000 acres north of the cur-rent bison unit. This will allow more room for the bison to roam. The park is thankful for the partnerships they had that helped raise money for the project. Funds will be used to build roughly 40 miles of fence, automatic gates, porta-ble corrals, and parking for tourists. An Astronomy Fest will be held June 24 & 25. The event attracts a large number of people to the area. A solar eclipse will take place August 21 although the Wall community and Badlands are not in an area of totality, a 96% eclipse will be able to be seen. The RASDAK bicycle tour will be riding through the park June 4 before arriving in Wall on June 5. The park is still being affected by the hiring freeze but are thankful that the freeze has been lifted for seasonal employees.
MMNHS: Kelsey Walter reported a few brief topics of interested for Eric Leonard. March visitation was 2,293, which is a 4% increase from March of last year. However, year-to-date attendance is still down due to se-vere weather in January and February. Production of the park film is still progressing, with an expected completion date in September. South Dakota Tourism travel counselors will be working at the visitor center mid-May to familiar-ize travelers to western South Dakota.
Golden West: Jody Bielmair stated that if community members have not yet been contacted for the “Fiber to the Home” project, they would be soon. She wanted to inform customers that Golden West has hired con-tractors to help with the project, but contractors will have marked vehicles and personal badges that state they are working with Golden West. Jody was happy to report that through the Golden West “Pay it Forward” campaign this year they will donate roughly $16,000 to schools across South Dakota.
West River Electric: Dick Johnson: WREA is preparing for the start of the busy summer season. He re-minded members that there will be a basic rate increase starting May 1.
Black Hills Federal Credit Union: Wendy Allison informed those in attendance that April is Credit Un-ion Youth Month. Ages 5-18 can participate in a contest about how they are using their bank account to save money. Projects can be a story, a picture or a video. April 26 is Black Hills Federal Credit Union Youth Member Appreciation Day, members are invited to stop into BHFCU for cookies.
First Interstate Bank: Janet Lurz reminded members that scholarships are all due April 15. First Inter-state Bank is holding a contest for children to bring in their home made piggy banks to be judged by the community. Entries will be divided into 3 age groups. There was no artist of the month for April.
Toastmasters: Cheyenne McGriff: Next meeting will be held April 21, at 6:30 a.m. at the WREA.
Country Cupboard: No Report
Rodeo Booster Club: Mary Williams reported that at the Rapid City Junior High Regional Rodeo, Wall had 4 participants who worked to earn points for State. An arena fence improvement project will be completed so the fence of the small arena match will match the height of the fence in the big arena. The steel has already been delivered and the project will begin soon.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church: Mary Williams wanted to invite everyone to attend the 100th Anniversary Celebration Dinner of the Catholic Church on April 23.
Black Hills & Badlands: No Report
Mailbox Project: Cheyenne McGriff: As a partnership between the City, Economic Development, and the Chamber, graduating seniors will receive a mailbox with their name and Wall, SD placed on the outside of the box. The purpose of this project is to encourage seniors to return to the Wall Community after attending secondary education, military, etc. Local businesses will be asked to donate items to be placed in the mailboxes. The city has al-ready approved the project to be completed for the second year and mailboxes have already been ordered.
4th Ave. Floral: Cindy Hauk was excited to inform those in attendance of the Geranium Festival 4th Ave. Floral will be holding May 13-20. The festival will allow interested individuals to bring flower pots to the flower shop where they can have assistance planting the pots.
Next Meeting: Wall-Badlands Area Chamber Mixer: Monday, May 8, 2017, 6 p.m. Wall Golf Course .