Raider Park at Stevens High School was and is the sole beneficiary of the proceeds from
the 2018 and 2019 Tom Pfeifle 5k event as well as last year's 2020 Virtual event.
Raider Park, adjacent to Stevens High School, sits on 30 acres of Rapid City Area School District land. The School Board has given permission for development of the park, but with no school funding. The Tom Pfeifle Memorial Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, seeks to promote and advance the development of Raider Park while honoring the life of SHS alum Tom Pfeifle.
Raider Park is a work in progress. Thousands of hours of volunteer time have gone into clearing trash and downed limbs; trimming grasses; and moving rocks. A one mile running / walking trail, the Tom Pfeifle Trail, has now been completed. It circles the park and joins several miles of single track biking trails that wind through the eastern hilly side of the park. These trails are regularly used by runners, walkers, and bicyclists from the school, neighborhood, and community.
Measures to protect the park include fencing and gates, with the Raider Park logo. These are designed to allow people in and unwanted vehicles out. Signs identifying the Tom Pfeifle trails with a map of the park will be updated. Other safety and long-term protective measures include remediating drainage problems and completion of a connector trail to allow students to cross safely from residential areas to schools. Trees that posed a danger have been removed and reclamation of damage caused by ATVs is on the horizon.
Besides the trails, twenty fruit trees are doing well, and additional trees have been donated and will soon be planted to upgrade the arboretum. A weather station and student created sculpture are in the midst of the trees. In addition to an amphitheater, a pavilion to facilitate outdoor classroom space is planned for the future. Goals include reclaiming water, using solar power and construction of a rain garden to wetland to mitigate runoff.
Raider Park has benefited from volunteers and in kind donations including materials, expertise, and labor. In addition, school district employees, neighbors, and the City of Rapid City have all given assistance. Where projects couldn’t be done by volunteers, the Tom Pfeifle Memorial, Inc. has stepped in to provide funding and to help with grants. TPM, Inc. has raised and donated over $100,000 to support Raider Park by holding annual 5K events since 2018.
People love and protect what they value. Raider Park provides an opportunity for students and community to value outdoor exercise. It will promote the ideals of individual and environmental health. It provides hands on educational opportunities and environmental studies. It will afford both students and community members opportunities to “give back”. If you want to be involved, reach out on Facebook at RaiderPark, or TomPfeifle5k, or firstname.lastname@example.org.