Sturgis closes in on purchase of Richards' property

The city of Sturgis is now the owner of the 77-acre Richards’ property in Vanocker Canyon near Scott Peterson Motors. This photo was taken looking north towards Interstate 90. Courtesy photo

STURGIS — The city of Sturgis now owns the 77-acre Richards’ property which opens the door to future residential and commercial development.

City officials closed on the property Tuesday with seller Dave Richards.

In addition to housing and commercial development, the land could also be home to a 12-acre Aquatic Adventure Park which would feature a sand beach, splash pad, playground, and more.

The Sturgis City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the land abutting the Sturgis city limits across from Scott Peterson Motors in Vanocker Canyon for $1.4 million on March 21.

Money for the land came from the city’s reserves.

The city purposely waited 45 days to close on the property fearing the agreement to buy the land could be referred by residents against the purchase.

That did not happen, Mayor Mark Carstensen said.

“We received no referral petitions,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

The purchase is another step toward improving the community, the mayor said.

“I think it’s a big deal for the future of the city of Sturgis. I mean both for the development and the park opportunity; it’s great,” Carstensen said.

Those developers will consider both commercial and residential projects, said Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie.

“We asked them to provide a vision for the area that would include commercial and residential development, and also how we might be able to interact with the adventure park,” Ainslie said

Once the city gets some preliminary plans finalized, you could potentially start seeing some development early next year.

“But at the same time, I think the council is more interested in making sure that we get a good positive development for the community,” Ainslie said.

The city is supportive of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to assist in the development of the Aquatic Adventure Park, bike paths, walking trails and limited infrastructure within the proposed development.

The city will also use this development to apply for additional financing for water infrastructure using the newly passed State `American Rescue Plan Act funding, Carstensen said.

“In reality, there’s a lot of tough challenges we face in our community. I think we’ve come up with some pretty good opportunities to get better and encourage more people to live here and help pay the same bills and have infrastructure that’s solid and in place for generations to come,” he said.

Here is the tentative development timeline for the Richards’ property in Sturgis.

May 2 Annexation

May 3 Planning & Zoning preliminary plat review

May 16 City Council preliminary plat review

June 7 P&Z public hearing for TIF, final plat review

June 20 City Council final plat approval, TIF approval

July 14 Recording of plat


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