The original members of the Canyon Lake Senior Center were a group of AARP people meeting in North Rapid City. They had no facility of their own. The Rapid City School District leased the property, that the main building now occupies, to the Center. The land was originally part off the 1,000 acre Sioux Sanitarium farm which was acquired in 1906 under the provision of the Indian Appropriations Act. Title of part of the land was transferred in 1950 by the Secretary of the Interior. Rapid City, the South Dakota National Guard and the Rapid City School District each received title to part of the land with the provision that the land be used for municipal, military and educational purposes respectively. If these purposes are not met, title reverts back to the federal government.
The latest lease with the School District (which included all 22+ acres Canyon Lake Senior Center now controls) was signed in 1983 for 30 years with an option for another 20 years beyond that. The Center was incorporated as a S.D. non-profit organization in January 1967, under laws of South Dakota and under the name of the Senior Citizens Park Corporation. The name was changed to “Senior Citizens, Incorporated” in November 1967. In October 1980, we were granted income tax exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The official name of the corporation is “Senior Citizens Inc.”, but the Center is best known as Canyon Lake Senior Center. A survey of the property was completed by FMG Inc. in 1988. Appraisal of the land was completed in 1989 by William A. Tubbs. Topographic layout, of the proposed outdoor recreation area, was done by TSP Inc. in 1989 and a study by Clarke Engineering for the flood zone was completed in 1990. Funds for these property functions were obtained from the City Block Grant program.
There have been at least six major expansions or renovation projects since the original building was completed. In reference to these, the pool/shuffleboard room was added; the annex was completed as an arts/craft building (a ceramics area was created later and the woodcraft area turned into a card room); the parking area was expanded and paved; the warehouse was added in 1986; and the kitchen and bathrooms were renovated. In 1994, the Center was completed with the major expansion of the Viking Hall, pool room, carpeted card room and computer room. In 1996-97, the kitchen was expanded and remodeled. Past and present boards of directors and members continue to update the facility for all to enjoy.
Membership started with 39 people and has grown to over 1,500 members. Members come from all over Rapid City and the surrounding Black Hills area. The Center has been and continues to be a busy place with an active and enthusiastic membership.