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Federal government abandons intention to alter definition of ‘metro’ area

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:07 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Biden administration is walking back an effort to reclassify several small metropolitan areas as micropolitan areas. Rapid City would have been one of the communities impacted by this decision.

The United States Office of Management and Budget announced earlier this year that it would reclassify communities with populations between 50,000 and 100,000 to micropolitan statistical areas.

Rapid City, a community with a population of more than 75,000, would have been directly affected by this move, along with about 140 other American cities.

The biggest impact? Micropolitan areas don’t keep the same statistics.

Kip Harrington, a long-range planner with Rapid City, said that city planners use this data all the time.

“We use it to do historical population trends, we use it in our population forecasts, we do comparisons with it,” Harrington said. “So, not having this data going forward would make our jobs much harder.”

As Rapid City continues to grow; economic development is expected to pick up as the city remains a metropolitan area.

Rep. Dusty Johnson and Sen. John Thune both introduced bills in the House and Senate to stop the reclassification. Johnson said that he’s happy the OMB is reversing its decision, and that Rapid City’s economic expansion is something the whole state can be grateful for.

“Rapid City is still largely going to grow based on hard-working entrepreneurs and business people who make investments in the community,” Johnson said. “It’s going to grow because it’s an incredible quality of life community.”

As a metropolitan area, Rapid City is also eligible to receive designated federal funding.

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