When Tony Schavone moved to Spearfish with his wife Alyce in 1957, to teach at Black Hills State University, there were only three paved roads – Highway 16 (Colorado Boulevard/North Main) passing through town, Jackson Boulevard to University Street, and University Street to the college.

“We had passed through South Dakota on vacation the year before, and South Dakota was one place we said we would never live,” said Alyce Schavone. But her husband’s position was just temporary, so she agreed to come.

And thanks to many forward thinkers like long-time Spearfish resident and developer, Joe Jorgensen – the community has come a long way in the 55 years Schavone has made it her home.

With a 20% overall growth in the past 10 years, according to city officials, the city of Spearfish is constantly expanding, changing and improving. Spearfish has been noted as a progressive community by other cities and businesses because of its ability to provide a high level of service while thinking outside the box to provide amenities for all citizens.

“Spearfish has three prominent things that set it apart from other towns: our recreation center, affordable housing initiatives and open space conservation areas,” said Cheryl Johnson, Public Works Administrator.

In 2007, a group of investors and developers purchased the old Wal-Mart facility from the company after a new Super Wal-Mart was built on the east side of Spearfish. This group then transferred ownership to the city and renovated the structure into a 71,000 square foot recreation and aquatics center, complete with gym space, walking track, training room, fitness area, indoor batting cages, game room and outdoor water park.

“The risk was worth it and now Spearfish has a phenomenal facility for community recreation,” said Joe Jorgensen, investor, land developer and realtor.

According to Johnson, Spearfish is the only community nationally to purchase a Wal-Mart facility and remodel it into a structure for community use.

People move to Spearfish for a variety of reasons from the beauty, to the climate to the educational and healthcare systems. Affordable housing also draws a large number of families to the community.

“Affordable is relative to your financial status, but our housing is affordable compared to many places like Western North Dakota, Colorado and California,” said Johnson.

Numerous residential developments are currently being expanded while others are in the planning stages and will begin to see growth in coming years. Two of the city’s most recent developments are The Reserve in Higgins Gulch located west of Spearfish and McGuigan Subdivision located north of Spearfish, respectively.

“Development happens where land and water/sewer are available. The McGuigan Subdivision and The Reserve are highly attractive because they are ready,” said Jorgenson, developer of the McGuigan Subdivision.

Both the Reserve and McGuigan Subdivisions include city water, sewer, garbage, snow removal, police and fire protection. Each development has single family and multi-family residences, as well as open space for parks, walking paths and recreation.

Near Exit 17, the Elkhorn Ridge Golf Estates development is currently underway. With scenic views of the Black Hills and the Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club, this community’s lots range average 13,000 square feet in size and are serviced by the city with the same amenities mentioned above.

The city administrators and local developers are proud of the open space conservation areas, that Spearfish provides. Throughout the city, residents and visitors have access to 17 city parks, nearly eight miles of recreation/bike paths, two public golf courses, two disc golf courses, one skate park and numerous sports fields and complexes.

“I am proudest of the parks and open spaces that we’ve built into each subdivision. Some are walking paths, some are parks and others are just general open spaces,” said Jorgensen.

In addition, the city has also expanded the land they own to include more open space conservation areas including the west side of Lookout Mountain and the addition of land near Creekside Elementary school for expanded recreation paths and a park.

“The city budgets money every three years to add one to one and half miles of rec paths,” said Johnson. “Rec paths are just as important as roads nowadays, but are very expensive, especially areas with bridges over Spearfish Creek.”

“People choose Spearfish because of the quality of life, amenities, scenic beauty and the environment. Those things have always been here and current residents hold the standards high to keep it that way,” said City Planner, Jayna Watson. “We are not an average city. People pay higher attention to the details of architectural standards and ‘up the bar’ for our community.”