Deadwood Opens New Arena on Main Street to Host Events
photo courtesy KOTA News
Imagine the smell of freshly grilled steaks and locally brewed beer. The sounds of crowds and laughs from kids. The warmth of the fire as you gather around it with your friends and the barking of dogs on leashes and constant conversation are also heard on a low murmur throughout the evening.
Outlaw Square is the new venue in downtown historic Deadwood that will invoke all these emotions, sounds, smells, and more this summer.
Director of Outlaw Square Bobby Rock said, “The initial thoughts for this space was started 13 years ago and championed by some local residents after a Roger Brooks overview of what was needed to revitalize the historic downtown district.”
A long time coming, Outlaw Square has been received very well by the local community and visitors. The arena opened in early December of 2019 and has already been used for annual events and ice skating. The K-9 Keg Pull usually held on historic main street was hosted at the new location Saturday, Jan. 25.
“We have planned over 250 events throughout the year,” Rock added.
Continuing through the year, families and community members will be able to rent skates to glide on the new “Glice,” a fake ice that doesn’t need to be used in certain temperatures, enjoy family movie nights, pick out some local produce at the Farmers Market and more. The hope is to get more community and family engagement.
The locals love it too. Across the street from the new venue, the staff at the Silverado Franklin Casino and Hotel is happy to have the new space in town.
Casino floor supervisor and poker room manager Greg Glodt said, “Just having a venue in town that is more accessible to families, more an everyday use type of a situation versus just special events, it’s been nice.”
Attracting more business is never a bad thing. Glodt goes to say that too much business isn’t even really a thing. Unable to speak for other casinos in deadwood, Glodt shared that his business is very excited to have Outlaw Square and they’re looking forward to seeing the impact it has.
Having only been open for a few months now, it’s hard to gauge the potential impact the square might have on the community. Business owners are hoping it will boost engagement and tourism, and some have already seen the beginning impact.
Tony Sieber is the general manager at the Gold Dust Casino and Hotel down the street. He expressed the general interest of the businesses in the area and shared his appreciation for the new venue. Not all businesses will be affected evenly with some being closer to Outlaw Square, but any new business is a plus.
He said, “What they, the community or Chamber, wants is they want to bring the people there, but then they want them to be able to walk down main street and patronize the businesses that are already in existence…. Anything is going to be an advantage, um, because it’s just a way to filter customers more downtown.”
Deadwood doesn’t struggle to attract visitors and businesses to the historic town, but Outlaw Square will give visitors something more to do. The venue is also a great opportunity for children and families as not every business is appropriate for that audience. Outlaw Square helps to target business that might otherwise not come into the historic town otherwise.
Glodt said, “Deadwood is such an amazing town with its historic significance and bringing people in and families in that regard, but with that being said, so far, there hasn’t been a lot for a more family-oriented event or place for families to go.”
Like every other project, Outlaw Square has been in the works for years. It wasn’t until recently, about two years ago according to Sieber, that the project really began to take off. With a project like this, there was also a lot of construction that was needed. That didn’t seem to deter visitors or sway the opinion of locals though.
With it opening later in 2019, it took just under a year to complete. Rock has been a part of Deadwood events for a long time and wanted to apply for the position so he could be a part of the unique opportunity to create something special in the town he loves. He confirmed that the planning took two years and the groundbreaking for construction was Jan. 7, 2019.
“You know, construction is something that’s going to happen all the time… I can tell you from a construction standpoint, the end result is going to be far more beneficial than the year or so that it was under construction. I take those construction things with a grain of salt,” Sieber said.
While the sounds of construction may have been bothersome, visitors, locals, and businesses in the area are all looking forward to the summer events in their new venue.
Rock closed with, “The purpose of creating Outlaw Square was to create a gathering place for local residents of Deadwood and Lead and the visitors to our area.”