Sturgis, SD – 6.6.17 Gov. Daugaard says he enjoys the Capital for a Day program because it gets him out of his office to meet people where they live and hear about their challenges and celebrate their successes.
People around the nation talked about how Washington, D.C. can be like an island. Daugaard said Pierre can be like that also being isolated from the rest of the state.
“It’s good for me to get out of Pierre and get into places like Sturgis so I can see what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t want state government to be isolated from South Dakotans, or independent of the people.”
Daugaard said Sturgis has a lot going for it and has always been known to think big.
He was thoroughly impressed by the new Sturgis Main Street during a walk Tuesday morning with Sturgis Public Works Director Rick Bush.
“Wow! What a beautiful Main Street,” he said. “Between all the infrastructure you can’t see and the street, sidewalk, lighting and bumpouts with the plantings you can see, it’s just spectacular. Sturgis is on the cutting edge. The rallygoers will see a better street and a smoother and easier ride down Main this year. They’re gonna love it.”
Daugaard characterized Sturgis as a community responsible for making its own future.
“Many communities of this size would wait for business opportunities to come their way, but Sturgis is more proactive than most,” he said. “Economic development is something you must do intentionally. You have a vibrant economic development corporation here.”
Daugaard said communities can’t wait for businesses to need a location, communities need to provide that location so that when businesses are looking, proactive communities are in the running.
“Sturgis does that,” the governor said.
Daugaard also lauded the Meade School District for its commitment to career and technical education or CTE.
“Because the firearms industry is very active in Sturgis, the school system has a machinist program with up-to-date modern equipment. I know that because I gave a grant to help buy it,” he said.
The Sturgis motorcycle rally is what draws people to Sturgis and the entire state from all over the world. And Sturgis is learning to leverage their hospitality to other events year-round, the governor said.
Daugaard gave as an example the pavilion at The Knuckle Saloon which serves thousands of bikers during the annual motorcycle rally, but also uses the venue for a bull-riding event during the summer when rodeo fans are in town for the Southwest Regional High School rodeo.
“That just shows you take your assets and don’t just rely on them for the obvious – like the rally – but use them in other ways to create more interest in Sturgis,” he said.
Daugaard was excited to visit the Sturgis Watershed area during his visit Tuesday and said opening that area to visitation is just another example of Sturgis using its assets to the fullest.
“The city has been very active in making the decision to open up that area formally to the public. The welcome mat is being rolled out and this government-owned asset is being made available to the people,” he said.
Whether it remains a city-owned asset open to the public or becomes a state-owned asset is open for discussion, the governor said.
Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen said the city and state have collaborated on several projects in recent years and the city was proud to be able to showcase those efforts during Daugaard’s visit to the city Tuesday.
“As we tour businesses in the downtown corridor and in the industrial park, we are truly grateful for the support we have received from state agencies,” Carstensen said.
A noon luncheon Tuesday, dubbed a Community Leader Roundtable, was a time for discussing new ideas and to set new goals that will help not only the community of Sturgis, but also the state to continue to thrive and grow into the future, the mayor said.
Excerpts reprinted courtesy of Deb Holland, Meade County Times-Tribune