City known for motorcycle rally mulling man-made lake


STURGIS, S.D. — A man-made lake with amenities for all ages could be coming to Sturgis.

It all began when the city began discussing some sort of outdoor aquatics venue within the city. The city made a call for citizens to serve on a committee to discuss a splashpad.

But it was evident early on that committee members did not want a splashpad, but some sort of outdoor pool.

Allison Carter, chairperson of the Sturgis Aquatics Committee, said they worked toward that end, but funding, cost and location were identified as barriers.

“In order to build something like Spearfish has, we believed was just completely out of the realm for Sturgis. It was just too expensive. We were getting cost estimates of 9, 12 and 15 million dollars to build something like that.”

Added to that were high maintenance costs.

“From an ecological standpoint, it made sense to move away from that direction,” she said.

The committee also saw as a priority serving all ages and all abilities with what they are now calling the Sturgis Lakeside Adventure Park, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

“We didn’t think a splashpad offered the citizens of the community enough on its own,” she said.

Another priority for the committee was how an aquatics venue could contribute to the health of all citizens, Carter said.

The city had told the committee they were looking to place a splashpad in a park on 24 acres of land at the Sturgis Fairgrounds. The city has plans to sell the fairgrounds land to a developer for housing, but retain land for a park within a housing development.

The aquatics committee reached out to a Verona, Wisconsin-based company called Commercial Recreation Specialists to learn more about a firefighter-themed splashpad which some citizens had researched in recent years. They found out at that time that the company also does lakes.

Carter said many of the committee members liked the idea of building a lake.

“They presented us with the idea that we could build a lake very easily and very cost effectively,” she said.

But the committee had the same questions Carter believes many Sturgis citizens will also have such as: “Are you kidding me? You’re going to build a lake? If so, how?” she said.

CRS has been doing aquatic design for 30 years.

“They have been a great resource for us,” Carter said.

Ron Romens, president of CRS, said that a lake in the heart of Sturgis is very “doable,” and would provide endless possibilities for active recreation.

“We specialize not only in the body of water, but also in the recreation that goes around that body of water,” he said.

“There needs to be spaces and recreation for all ages so they feel comfortable coming to the park,” Romens said.

He said a lake could range in price from $1.5 million to $5 million depending on what the client wants.

The committee also has been working with Gene Fennell and Fennell Design, Inc. in Rapid City concerning the design of the park.

The committee liked the idea of the lake because they would be creating a natural eco-system which could be used by students for science lessons and more throughout the year.

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