Why Dinosaur Park is closing at the end of the month

RAPID CITY, SD — There’s about a week left until Dinosaur Park closes for renovations. Accessibility work should begin on October 1 with parking already limited to half the lot to make room for construction machinery. The stairs will be demolished on Monday but the park will remain open until Friday the 30th. Visitors are invited to take the footpath north of the stairs to access the park during this period.

Between now and early May, the park will close completely to give crews full access for the first phase of the work. The makeover is long overdue and no major improvements have been made since the late 1960s.

The park opened in 1936 and was built by city crews and the Works Progress Administration.

The project will improve the park with accessible pedestrian routes and bring security features up to code. New amenities will also be added, including an interpretation site.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution and watch out for construction traffic, signs and flaggers in the affected area. The Dinosaur Park improvements were among the items approved in City Council’s 2019 Vision Fund allocations.

The project is expected to cost $3.5 million, funded with $1.6 million from the Vision Fund and the remainder from the Rapid City Department of Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Projects Fund and Facilities Fund governmental.

The Dinosaur Park sculptures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Maintenance and renovations have been done to the parking lot, some pedestrian access, and the dinosaurs over the years. This multi-phase project is expected to be completed in December 2023.

Timeline of the first phase:

  • 09/26/2022: Phase 1 stair demolition begins, gift shop remains open, available parking is limited, stairs are closed to the public, trail access is available for those who want and can climb the hill
  • 01/10/2022: phase 1 continues, gift shop is closed for the season, parking available is limited, no public access to dinosaur park
  • 05/01/2023: Phase 1 continues, gift shop open for the season, limited parking available, trail access for those who want and can climb the hill
  • 05/26/2023: Phase 1 needs to be completed, gift shop remains open, available parking spaces are limited, stair access needs to be restored

The dinosaur park is scheduled to open for the 2023 season on May 1 to anyone who wants to hike the trail. Access to the stairs should be restored later in the month.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

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