STURGIS — For more than a month, the Sturgis City Council has been seeking opinions from a variety of sources on whether the city should host the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.
The city even asked residents through a survey to indicate their preference for either proceeding with the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally or postponing the Rally to a future year.
In total, 3,290 surveys were mailed to the resident addresses used by the 2020 Census. The city reports that 1,816 – or 55.2% of the surveys, were returned.
Here are the results:
• 1,144 responses indicated that they would like the event to be postponed (62.9%)
• 672 responses indicated that they would like the event to proceed (37.0%)
• 7 responses included notes stating that they did not care either way (0.4%)
Mayor Mark Carstensen said the city will use the information when making the final decision on June 15, on whether or not to host this year’s Rally.
But Carstensen cautions that the city’s survey of residents wasn’t highly scientific. One survey was sent to each residence. It included a postage paid envelope and asked residents to return the survey by May 26.
Although the responses represented 55% of the number of surveys sent out, some envelopes were returned with multiple photo-copied responses, Carstensen said.
“It is tough to set up a scientific survey without spending a lot more time than we had. I think that survey was set up for a ‘no’ answer just how it was written,” he said.
Carstensen said he believes that regardless of COVID-19, there is a portion of the Sturgis community that doesn’t like the Rally and this survey gave them a voice.
“I think their dislike comes because for years the city paid for it (the Rally) with no return,” the mayor said.
Now the Rally is an important part of the city’s annual financial picture, he said.
“It does a great deal for our community,” Carstensen said.
The mayor and members of the city council will weigh the results of the surveys along with other information gathered when making their decision about this year’s Rally.
“I think each individual council member certainly will weigh categories differently,” he said.
Meanwhile, the city council continues to gather data and speak with numerous individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and various other groups throughout the state in order to make the wisest choice possible, the mayor said.
The council has set a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 8, at the Sturgis Community Center theater to discuss scheduling of this year’s Rally and will make a final determination on June 15.
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