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Gov. Dennis Daugaard said it will cost $15,200 a day to pay the federal government to run the landmark tourist attraction in the Black Hills. He told The Associated Press the state already wired four days’ worth of the donations on Friday, so the memorial will reopen Monday morning.
“Many people plan their trips to the Black Hills to see Mount Rushmore,” he said. “If Mount Rushmore isn’t open, many people won’t come at all or will wait to come when it is open.”
Daugaard said he finally got the park service to take down cones that federal workers had placed along the highway, making it difficult for tourists to pull over and see the monument.
Then he got a call Thursday from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell who wanted to talk about his offer in late September to pay to run Mount Rushmore, but the federal government only offered to let the state pay for having federal employees go back to work at the Black Hills mountain carving of four presidents.
“So that’s when we started calling folks who we knew were good corporate citizens and we had very little turndown. Most people were unhesitating,” Daugaard said.
Donors that already have agreed to sponsor one day: The Mount Rushmore Society, Rapid City CVB/BID Board, Black Hills Central Reservations, West River Foundation, Lawrence & Schiller, Lantis Enterprises Inc., Neiman Enterprises Inc., J. Scull Construction Service Inc., ISIS Hospitality, Avera Health, First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, MDU Resources, Sanford Health, Wall Drug, and one anonymous donor.