It isn’t an exaggeration to describe 2021 as a record-breaking year for Spearfish in terms of total building project valuation, which came in over $98 million.
“This is the highest valuation total in Building Services history,” Tom Paisley, Spearfish building official, said, describing the previous record, set in 2020, was $54,968,747. “This is almost double the 2020 tally of 109 new residential units,” Building Official Paisley said.
Several new commercial building permits were issued in 2021, included the new Cobblestone building on Main Street, commercial storage units on Colorado Boulevard and Highway 85, the new Carquest Building on Main Street, a new asphalt plant on 1st Avenue, and the Pioneer Bank and Trust building on Jackson Boulevard. New commercial units in existing buildings included Cowgirl Pizza, an indoor climate-controlled storage building on 12th Street and Industrial Drive, Ruby’s Roost Bakery, Ink Imprints, Black Hills Blade and Axe, Black Hills Moto, Millennia Motors, Work Rigs Unlimited, and Eye Love Spearfish. Commercial alterations were also a large part of the permits this year, with 48 commercial alteration permits issued.
Building Official Paisley said 2022 is already looking to be another busy year for the Building Services department, with several new developments underway with more buildable lots, specifically the extended development for the Countryside Subdivision, the Reserve on Higgins Creek, Elkhorn Ridge Golf Estates, Miller Ranch, and Sky Ridge subdivision. In 2021, 650 contractor licenses were issued.
Spearfish Economic Development Corporation hosted Congressman Dusty Johnson at Black Hills State University on Tuesday, December 21 for a discussion with business representatives and city officials to focus on the work being done in Spearfish to address the workforce issues facing the country as a whole.
Johnson heard presentations from Pam Carriveau, interim provost and president of academic affairs at BHSU; and Kirk Easton, superintendent of Spearfish School District, about the steps being taken to meet the workforce needs in education. Through student success programs at BHSU, such as the joint internship program with Spearfish Economic Development Corporation; as well as the career and technical education center planned by the school district, educators in the Black Hills shared with Johnson that there is a real focus on helping students find a workforce direction.
Spearfish mayor Dana Boke also updated Johnson, and everybody in the room, about the work being done at Sky Ridge to keep affordable housing options in Spearfish for that workforce. “Right now our median house (price) is over $400,000, and what we are looking at is the first (price) level house (at Sky Ridge) is just under $200,000. The second is just under $250,000, and the third level of house at this development maxes out at the first-time home buyers (price cap) which is around $300,000.”
Johnson said he was impressed by the measures being taken by Spearfish to address the gaps in workforce housing and training. “I grew up in poverty; there were seven of us in my family and, but for work, education, and training, I could not have gotten out of that situation,” he said. “Some people win the lottery but realistically there is no – underline, ‘NO’ – way out of poverty without some form of work, training, and education.”
Johnson praised the leadership of Spearfish for taking the steps it has to address the ongoing and countrywide workforce problem. “I want to thank you for what you’re doing because, frankly, I think a lot of what we’re doing is working in tandem as we encourage people who can work to work. They’re gonna need houses, they’re gonna need education, they’re gonna need opportunities, so thank you for doing what you’re doing,” he said.
Construction for the first home at Sky Ridge, a workforce housing development and adjacent sports complex near Exit 17, began during a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating this milestone to create affordable housing for Spearfish.
“The need for more affordable housing has long been a topic of concern for communities across the nation, and I am proud that Spearfish has worked to make this priority a reality,” Mayor Dana Boke said. “To see construction begin on what will become a home for a local family is exciting, and I am thankful to everyone who has worked hard to bring this project to fruition.”
Sky Ridge, located south of Colorado Boulevard and west of U.S. Highway 85 in the Exit 17 area, includes 150 lots for workforce housing, developed in phases over five years. The current contract requires 40 percent, or 60 homes, to be sold at or below $197,000; 40 percent to be sold at or below $247,000; and the remaining 20 percent (30 homes) sold up to the maximum price point established the South Dakota Housing Development Authority’s First-Time Homebuyer Program, which is currently $300,000. The square-footage of the home designs varies from 800-1,700 square feet, and Dream Design International, Inc., is responsible for constructing the homes.