High Plains Western Heritage Center upgrades provide greater accessibility

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SPEARFISH — The High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish has made upgrade over the past three years that have improved safety, security, and accessibility, due to the financial support from the city of Spearfish.

Karla Scovell, executive director of the center, addressed the city council April 1 and thanked them for the grants the center has received through the years that have enabled the center to make recent upgrades. She explained that in 2017, the center installed surveillance cameras and a fire alarm system throughout the building. In 2018, two outdoor cameras were added, as well as a new concrete entrance by its theater doors, and new energy-efficient doors throughout the building, including two that are handicap-accessible. Emergency lighting was also added to all of the exits.

“When I last spoke to you in the fall of 2017, we were launching our new Cowboy Supper Show,” Scovell said. “We could not have foreseen the direct impact that presentation had after being printed in the Black Hills Pioneer. It was at the same time that the Bay Leaf (restaurant) had sold their business and had to break a contract they had to provide a weekly farewell dinner for the internationally known bus company, Collette Tours.”

The owner saw the article and recommended the High Plains Western Heritage Center to Collette Tour as an alternative, and the company selected the site, with buses bringing visitors to the Cowboy Supper Show for a sit-down supper weekly, May through mid-October.

“If it had not been for the upgrades we had made form the city grant the past two years, we could not have passed the safety inspection Collette requires of their venues,” Scovell said. “We now have contracts with them through 2020. Again, thank you.”

The center also offered eight Cowboy Supper Shows to the general public in 2018, which brought in around 500 local residents and tourists who were staying in the area, and the center also had more than 20 buses a week coming from the Educational Travel Institute of America, also known as Road Scholars, as well as more than 100 buses from other companies, school groups, and private parties.

Scovell said that after revisiting the decision to replace the center’s front steps with its 2019 grant from the city, they modified the plan, deciding to add concrete to the back entrance and lengthen the handicap approach.

“Later this year, we will modify the bottom step on the stair entrance for easier access,” she said.

Scovell added that the center receives support from its board of directors, volunteers, businesses and individuals in the community, and other grant organizations. 

“We have developed year-round programs to educate and entertain the public and have taken great strides to build lasting relationships with the community of Spearfish and surrounding region,” she said. “The incredible donation of 9.5 acres from North Park Plaza is an enormous beginning as we look to the future, see growth continue, and plan to expand to accommodate that growth. We see the growth of the Cowboy Supper Show as an opportunity to help hotels fill beds by providing another reason for tourists to spend the night in Spearfish. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you again.”

The mayor and council thanked Scovell for the presentation.

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