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Sprucing up South Dakota's parks

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outdoors Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE -- Two design firms that previously did significant work in South Dakota state parks will take top roles on the latest high-profile projects.

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Arc International of Rapid City is in charge for the new visitor center planned at Custer State Park, while HDR of Sioux Falls is the lead for the visitor center and related facilities at the new Good Earth State Park at Blood Run.

Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation, said the timetable calls for the projects to go bid by fall 2014.

The Legislature last winter appropriated $1.5 million toward the Custer State Park center and $2 million for Good Earth State Park. The funding is valid for two years.

Additional private fundraising will be necessary, according to Hofer. No designs have been chosen yet.

"We're at the infancy of this thing right now," he said.

Arc International did work in the past in Custer State Park, while HDR assembled the master plan for Good Earth State Park.

A dedication ceremony at Good Earth State Park is set for July 17, with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad joining South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard at the event.

Blood Run, a major gathering place for Plains tribal peoples centuries before Europeans arrived, is in the two states.

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