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Deadwood approves Main Street audio system

December 5, 2018

DEADWOOD — Deadwood city commissioners approved an audio project that will give the city a way to communicate with visitors on Main Street on a large scale.

Designed to meet the needs of city officials in several arenas, including Main Street entertainment and announcements, the comprehensive audio system would also be for use in the new Outlaw Square and would tie together several different zones up and down Main Street.

The project is part of the Main Street master plan. The cost of phase one — designing and planning — is estimated at $6,324 and involves information gathering and the development of an implementation plan, to be done in phases two and three. Phase two involves installation; phase three, operations.

The services of an outside vendor have been retained, in order to facilitate the comprehensive audio project, with completion of phases one and two and the start of phase three slated to occur by late-spring 2019.

“The complexity is beyond the current knowledge base of staff, and we brought in Scotte Burns who is experienced in the music industry,” said Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker. “We’re working with a potential sound contractor on a plan that could be implemented to meet the needs of the community.”

The approval was given Nov. 19.

Kuchenbecker explained city staff has been exploring the opportunity to bring a uniform sound system to Main Street for a variety of reasons.

“One, being safety and security for public announcements and in case of emergencies, but also to bring the appropriate sound and atmosphere to the Historic Landmark District and Main Street with period music and to address some of the issues of Deadwood Alive and complaints from visitors, whether it is loud music coming from the front of one business and other sounds on Main Street, but also bringing in the ability to have zones, where we could make announcements for parades or Deadwood Alive shoot-outs on Main Street and, obviously, tying it in to Outlaw Square.”

For example’s sake, Kuchenbecker posed the following scenario.

“There could be period music being played up and down Main Street, then, at 10 minutes to 2 (p.m.), Deadwood Alive makes the announcement up and down Main Street they will be performing soon near Tin Lizzie’s. Then they take over those half a dozen speakers and do not have to carry a sound system with them, while the balance of the zones continue to hear period music,” Kuchenbecker explained. “During the Days of ’76, each announcer could plug into their appropriate zone and announce the parade, covering a much bigger area, changing zones as they move up and down the street. The system could also be used to deliver an evacuation notice, if for some unknown reason, there was one required, or an address to make the community and visitors aware of a certain situation, or for emergency purposes, such as a tornado warning or extreme hail, directing people to move inside.”

Kuchenbecker said phase one is very important in determining how the system will look and what its components will be.

“In the design process, we need to make sure it doesn’t have an adverse effect to the character of district,” he added. “We’re designing a system that is both compatible and complementary to the district, and part of the challenge is to reach a resolution in doing so. We don’t know how many speakers until we know where can put them. We’re doing an evaluation of existing conditions and opportunities for placement that blend into the environment where the system will be located. So, at this time, the number of speakers and zones is unknown.”

It has been determined that the first phases of the audio project will be incorporated into the new Outlaw Square.

“I think this is something we really need downtown,” said Commissioner Sharon Martinisko.

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