Friday, May 27, 2005

Wanted: Rapid City Public Relations Effort

For those of you who do not follow the news, South Dakota's Ellsworth Air Force Base ended up on the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. The loss to the state is significant, in that Ellsworth is the state's second-largest employer, and the impact on neighboring Rapid City could be significant.

Naturally, this has become the biggest story in the state and has been widely followed across the country. A Google News search for "Ellsworth base" generated more than 2,200 hits, even showing up in places like the New York Times.

Short of getting Ellsworth off of the closure list, which is unlikely at best, what can Rapid City do to replace the jobs that will be lost when the base closes?

Well, they've just been handed an opportunity from Forbes Magazine who listed Rapid City as the sixth best small city in the U.S. to start a business or a career. They can't control the news cycle, but they can become a part of it by playing up the local business climate as a way to lure new businesses to the area. What they need is an aggressive public relations effort. Can they do it?

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