ALREADY A MECCA for bikers during its annual rally, the city of Sturgis., S.D., is making plans to attract new businesses including a major motorcycle dealership or distributor to capitalize on the rally year round.
The Future Sturgis initiative started about six months ago with a series of focus groups and town hall meetings asking residents how they want to see the community grow, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Within five years, the community hopes to attract 20 new retail businesses and create 300 new retail and industrial jobs. A retail committee's goals also include attracting at least one "big box" store to Sturgis, and attracting a major motorcycle dealer/distributor.
Sturgis Mayor Maury LaRue told the Journal there has been a growing realization that Sturgis needs to diversify and offer more than just the rally if it wants to thrive.
Separately, rally organizers said this year’s rally attendance was down 18 percent from 2007. They put the turnout at 414,917. That compares with 507,234 last year and 633,000 for the 60th rally in 2000.
Five committees presented short-, medium- and long-term goals at a recent town hall meeting. Additional meetings will be scheduled over the next few months to allow the planning groups to refine the proposals, let the public learn more about them and submit comments and suggestions. Another town hall meeting will be scheduled to unveil the final plan.