Philip Chamber discusses missile site visitor center, fashion show, books, circus and welcome signs

The Philip Chamber of Commerce meeting was held Tuesday, May 17, having been postponed earlier due to the Philip High School concert.

The chamber meeting began with an update on the disputed location of the future Minuteman Missile Site Visitors’ Center. According to Chamber President Glenn Parsons, the State of South Dakota is now behind the proposed Interstate 90 Exit 131 location over the Exit 127 site. The federal government is also leaning in that direction. He cautioned the audience to keep up letter-writing and other contacts with officials because the final comment period is this October.

The visitor’s center would generate an expected 20 job positions. Though only six visitors can go through the actual missile site per hour, the visitor’s center is expected to draw over one million people per year. The Exit 127 site, which is closer to Wall, “could effectively take Philip and Kadoka out of the picture as far as housing for employees would go,” said Parsons.

Roger Porch had earlier stated, “We want the visitor’s center to succeed. We believe the best chance for success would be for the center to be at Exit 131, especially since that is one of the ends for the Badlands Loop.”

Diane Fitch, president of the Friends of the Library board, reported on the new group’s progress and their public exposure at the Prairie Expo and concessions at the Brooks auction. A book-signing is scheduled for June 18 with four locally-connected authors scheduled to be in attendance: Hal Burton, Mel Anderson, Lawrence Burke, and Jan Cerney. A summer reading program titled “Dragons, Dreams, and Daring Deeds” will also be offered for the children of the Philip area beginning sometime in June.

A circus will be coming to Philip on July 16. A percentage of any advance adult tickets sold beyond the first 400 will be given to the chamber in exchange for good will and community involvement. All official advertising for the event will be organized and paid for by the circus’ owners.

Monna Van Lint, city finance officer, put forth the “Welcome to Philip” signage project that was emphasized during the Community Assessment meeting. The city council has approved further investigation on details and has donated $5,000 toward the project. The signs should be at each of the four main highway entrances to Philip, should be large enough to be easily read, and represent Philip in a positive manner. The council is in favor of at least some of the signs being made of granite because of almost no maintenance requirements.

A daytime trade show will be followed by an evening fashion show on Friday, June 10, with the chamber running the concessions. There will be at least 30 craft-based booths and three fashion venders. The Sizzlin' Summer Fashion Show did well last year. Buy your tickets before June 7th and you will be eligible for an Early Bird Drawing for Philip Bucks.

The chamber is looking for a new physical location. Office space is needed as a place for visitors to get information about Philip. The space can be fairly small, but needs restroom facilities and, ideally, should be located on main street. The welcome wagon baskets, given to new households coming to Philip, have been averaging 12 to 15 per quarter. That represents around 50 to 60 new households coming to Philip per year. The baskets include a coupon book that encourages newcomers to visit Philip businesses.

The Philip Chamber of Commerce summer meetings will begin at 8:00 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 14, at The Steakhouse.