- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) - The Old West gambling town of Deadwood is working on a $1.2 million parks project to transform its southerly gateway.

City Planner Bob Nelson Jr. told the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1YaNR7F ) that the two new city parks will blend “the historic and the contemporary.”

The 2-acre South Gateway Park will be adjacent to the Mickelson Trail and will overlook small waterfalls on Whitewood Creek. The $750,000 effort will include the addition of year-round restrooms, a picnic area, parking and attempt to beautify the southerly entrance to Deadwood, through which nearly half of the town’s 2 million annual visitors arrive, according to Nelson.

“That area has always been a blighted area with old torn-down buildings, but soon it will be the first thing many of our visitors encounter when driving into Deadwood and we hope it will serve as an example of what they can expect from the rest of the community,” Mayor Chuck Turbiville said.

Powerhouse Park, also located near the creek and the trail, will pay tribute to a century-old power plant, which once powered a trolley between Deadwood and Lead, and an archaeological site. The $450,000 effort will include a 330-foot boardwalk, a partial reconstruction of the plant’s smokestack, new trails, a pedestrian bridge and a retaining wall.

Tanya Olson, a landscape architect and partner in Custer-based Tallgrass Landscape Architecture, said the parks will represent Deadwood’s coming of age and offer a better understanding of its history.

“The period of time this represents shows just how quickly Deadwood moved from the time depicted in HBO’s ‘Deadwood’ series to becoming one of the most modern communities in western South Dakota,” Olson said.

The $1.2 million committed to the project includes some state funding and some donations from a local historic preservation group.

The parks are expected to be ready by fall.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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