HURON — After a difficult 2020, Huron is on its way back to previous levels of potential and growth. That was the resounding message received after the Huron City Commission heard annual reports from the Huron Event Center (HEC), South Dakota State Fair, and Greater Huron Development Corporation (GHDC) during its regular meeting Monday evening.
Brenda Jager, the HEC manager, opened the annual reports discussing the downturn in events for the events center in 2020. While business is still creeping back, Jager reports, “September is really full.”
With the ability to do the work quickly around less traffic last year, HEC remodeled the ballrooms and meeting rooms. Jager reported that the remodel was overdue and looks great.
The State Fair report was delivered by Peggy Besch, State Fair manager. She opened her report by discussing the DEX building. Increases in building supply costs have led to the construction committee of the DEX meeting recently to consider building plans within the budget while the fundraising committee continues to raise funds for the building. There will be a groundbreaking for the DEX building on September 2 at 1:30 p.m.
While the fairgrounds is often focused around the State Fair, Besch reported that activity level in 2021 has returned to near-2019 levels. In 2019, the fairgrounds hosted 136 events that lasted 304 days. In 2021, the grounds has 133 events planned at this time that will occupy 247 days.
Finally, President and CEO of GHDC, Ted Haeder, presented the annual report for his organization. He spoke of a number of upcoming events, such as the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) camp to be held later this week for high school students, that are helping to build workforce in Huron and giving young people an opportunity to experience a potential career.
As Huron and GHDC move from a business recovery model after COVID, Haeder expressed that he would like to focus his organization’s efforts on downtown development. Still, Haeder reports workforce development remains the top issue facing employers in the community, potentially costing the city $50 million in increased revenue due to lack of available workforce for companies to bid for contracts in the last year.
City engineer Brett Runge presented three items to the commission. The first was a payment request to Top Grade Concrete, LLC for $33,690.02. Runge reports that this is part of the curb and gutter program for the year that he states is roughly 30% complete. This was approved.
The next two items were both for professional service agreements with Infrastructure Design Group for construction administration services at the Vantage Park sanitary sewer construction project and at the 3rd Street reconstruction project. Runge explained that Infrastructure Design Group was the lead engineer on both projects, so the agreement was for them to provide guidance on any issues that would occur during the construction phase. These were both approved.