Tuesday, May 5, 2020

City and Motorcycle Club Disagree

Sturgis, South Dakota, USA - (May 5, 2020) - The City of Sturgis and the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club are at odds over a proposed annexation. For more than five years, Sturgis has been looking to annex properties that are immediately adjacent to the city and get city services, but are not within city limits.

"The Jackpine Gypsies use city roadways to access their property, the emergency services, and even city utilities," says Sturgis City Manager, Daniel Ainslie. "And so it becomes natural to make sure that area is also within the city limits."

The city has been in negotiations with the club for almost half a year to discuss the proposed annexation.

An opponent said the city of Sturgis’ attempt to annex property owned by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club will mean the demise of the longtime organization closely tied to the start of the Sturgis motorcycle rally 82 years ago.

Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club President Brett Winsell said the annexation goes further than the potential for a higher property taxes.

He said the club is more concerned with current and future city ordinances concerning noise, signage and other issues that may prevent the club from staging its races and other events on the grounds.

The Jackpine Gypsies and founder J.C. Pappy Hoel began the Sturgis motorcycle rally in 1938 and have hosted motorcycle races, hill climbs, motocross and other events, both at the Sturgis Fairgrounds and on the Gypsies Club Grounds. “This will basically kill the Gypsies,” club representative Brett Winsell told the Sturgis City Council. “The tax burden is something that we can’t bear.”

That burden would reportedly increase by slightly more than $2,500 annually, from about $4,800 in county and school taxes already paid yearly by the club.

"We have tried a voluntary annexation," says treasurer of Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, Vicki Winsell. "It has not been in our best interest at all. But if we could come to an agreement that would benefit both parties it would be great. Because right now, we don't feel there's a representation for the gypsies."

Winsell says if the land became part of the city the club would be limited, and could loose some of the freedoms they have by technically being in the county.

According to Ainslie, the annexation is an agenda item at Monday's council meeting, but staff will recommend that a decision be postponed for another month. With the postponement, both sides are willing to head back to the negotiation table and hopefully reach a voluntary agreement.