- Associated Press - Saturday, May 6, 2017

DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) - By a 3-2 margin Monday night, the Deadwood City Commission approved a recommendation by the historic preservation commission to commit $2 million toward two proposed downtown plazas.

The Deadwood Revitalization Committee hopes the two Main Street plazas will become public gathering places for residents and visitors.

Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker said the funds and plans will first be vetted through the appropriate state and national entities governing historic preservation before any funds are disbursed.

City officials hope their $2 million pledge will attract other public and private commitments to the plaza to help reduce the city’s overall financial contribution to the project.

“To me, that is the deciding factor,” said Commissioner Gary Todd. “If it’s $2 million in matching funds, any time you can bring in outside money, that is a win-win situation.”

Mayor Chuck Turbiville and Commissioner Mark Speirs were the dissenting votes on the commitment.

Speirs said he’s not sure the project should be classified as historic preservation.

“We would definitely be looking at doing this in a bonding project,” Speirs said. “Personally, I believe this is a Deadwood economic development issue, not a historic preservation issue.”

Commissioner Dave Ruth said he is confident the historic preservation money will be spent appropriately.

“There are plenty of rules in place to make sure it is an appropriate expenditure,” Todd said.

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