Sturgis Aquatics Committee reveals plans for lakeside adventure park

Gary MatthewsMarch 24, 2021Local
Gary MatthewsAllison Carter discusses the proposed Sturgis Lakeside Adventure Park at a public meeting Wednesday night.

STURGIS, S.D. – The Sturgis Aquatics Committee held their first meeting Wednesday night in hopes of getting residents on board their proposed Sturgis Lakeside Adventure Park.

The park includes a man-made lake with amenities for all ages.

Allison Carter, chairperson of the Sturgis Aquatics Committee, says they have been working diligently on finding some sort of water-related park for the community for many years.

“Inspiration for this started years ago and I know there have been several groups of people who worked on getting a splashpad in Sturgis. And, then, it was a couple years ago that support for an outdoor pool grew and we are trying to tie in all of those past movements to bring in a unique outdoor recreation area.”

This latest plan comes on the heels of a proposed splashpad that she says many members of the committee were cool to. Instead, they wanted some sort of an outdoor pool.

“The vast majority of us wanted an outdoor pool and that led us down this path to this man-made lake experience. You get an outdoor pool experience without the outdoor pool price.”

The committee knew it would be too expensive to build a water park like what it is in Spearfish. So they touched base with a company that in previous discussions discussed a splashpad and found out they also do lakes.

Carter says they could build a lake very easily and cost effectively. The company, Commercial Recreation Specialists, has been doing aquatic design for 30 years and the proposed lake could be used year-round for swimming, ice skating, sledding and more.

She says the community support is needed to make this a reality.

“We already have over 100 signatures in support, but the community will need to help us actively fundraise and we are going to need that for grants.”

Carter says an initial estimate for the Sturgis Lakeside Adventure Park is $3.5 million. It includes the 4 acre lake, mini golf area, concession stands and restrooms, lighting and parking.

Funding sources include grants and a proposed TIF, or tax increment finance district, which could bring in at least $2 million dollars.

The potential revenue and operating cost for the park are about equal, or revenue neutral — although Carter says it’s possible revenue could slightly outweigh operating costs.

The park would be built on approximately 24 acres of land at the Sturgis Fairgrounds.

Another meeting will be held on April 7th to discuss further details.