City hears Chamber 2023 annual report

Benjamin Chase of the Plainsman
Posted 7/24/23

Notes from July 24 Huron City Commission meeting

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City hears Chamber 2023 annual report

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HURON — Laurie Shelton, President & CEO of the Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau, presented the annual Chamber report to the Huron City Commission at Monday evening’s meeting.

Shelton referred commissioners back to the 2021 strategic plan to focus Chamber work around membership, visitor relations, and community engagement and enhancement. She noted that her office has worked to expand the reach of the Chamber through weekly Facebook videos, community events such as Thursday in Campbell Park and Food Truck Wednesdays, as well as providing information about the city at new employee orientation through HRMC, a program that Shelton stated she hopes expands to other businesses within Huron.

Shelton noted that Chamber membership is up by 7% and Chamber events are well-attended in comparison to other similar events in other communities. She noted a rise in tax receipts for dining and drinking, but a reduction in lodging receipts year-over-year as 2022 was an exceptionally high year, with a 48% occupancy rate January-May 2022 whereas 2023 has seen a 44% hotel occupancy rate in the city through May.

Advertising expenditures were discussed, and Shelton explained that the Chamber had been granted a Destination Marketing Grant through South Dakota Tourism in the amount of $30,750 to enhance tourism in the city. She also discussed the new “world’s largest pheasant” that was designed but had a non-performance issue with the contracted builder. A felony lawsuit is currently pending in Nebraska with the Chamber and other customers that were left without projects that had been paid for as part of the lawsuit.

Shelton expressed that one of her “favorite numbers” to present was the final one — that the Chamber spent more than $150,000 with local Huron businesses to do the work of the Chamber, encouraging money to be spent locally by example.

The commission opened the meeting convened as the board of adjustment to review a variance request for the Granada Courts, address 405 21st St. SE, to install pro ribbed roofing material to an apartment building. A representative from the applicant was present to explain the project.

Due to other buildings on nearby lots having similar roofing material and location of the complex, commissioners voted against the recommended denial of the variance, with Commissioner Bryan Smith and Mayor Gary Harrington voting to deny the motion while Commissioners Shawn Harvey, Drew Weinreis, and Rich Bragg each voted against denial.

The variance was then proposed to be approved, but the same voting persisted, with approval receiving three votes, falling short of the two-thirds of votes needed to approve the variance.

The commission approved a payment request to First Rate Excavate Inc in the amount of $303,407.55 for work done on parking ramp removal. Commissioner Harvey stated that the internal demolition and on-site crushing of the concrete of the structure should be completed this week. The overall project is on track to be completed by fall.

Commissioners also:
• Approved a parade permit filed by Huron High School Student Council for homecoming parade on September 15, contingent upon approval by the South Dakota Department of Transportation for use of Dakota Ave.
• Approved revisions to the Chief of Police and Library Cataloguer positions.Approved promotion of Glenda Maxted from Cataloguer to Assistant Library Director.

• Approved posting the cataloguer position internally and advertising if necessary.
• Approved the hire of Benjamin Sharon as a part-time volunteer firefighter.
• Approved a payment agreement for Tax Increment District number 7.
• Approved a home occupation permit for a taxidermy business filed by Matthew Roberts, 617 Michigan Ave SW.
• Approved application for Housing Infrastructure Funding Program assistance for the Broadland Creek Cul-De-Sac.