Record Growth Requires a Smart, Practical Spending Approach
Sioux Falls is full of visionary leaders who see the potential for transformational growth in our community. Their resiliency, tenacity and vision is at the core of our community’s DNA.
I was reminded of this recently during the groundbreaking event for The Steel District development in downtown Sioux Falls. The historic $200 million project was delayed by more than a year due to the pandemic—but their leadership understood the long-term opportunity and kept moving forward.
During a time when Sioux Falls is experiencing remarkable growth, we must continually recommit to a similar mindset that is both strategic and visionary. We are intentionally focusing on the tools and resources needed for the organizational scaling required to meet the growth demands of our community. Here at the City, we have been diligently working to advance three major budget projects that will shape Sioux Falls’ future: the 2022 City Budget, 2022–2026 Capital Plan, and Sioux Falls For All strategic investment plan.
A large part of our focus for strategic planning surrounding the City budget and capital plan has been prioritizing investments to manage the record growth we are experiencing in our city. Keeping pace with a growing city means being strategic in our investments and devoting dollars to where we need them.
Those strategic needs are reflected within the 2022 City Budget through investments to our infrastructure, like our roads and wastewater treatment plant, and meeting the public safety needs of our community, like adding public safety team members and for the first time in many years, increasing support for Metro Communications. These are smart, solid investments that will continue to move Sioux Falls forward as we grow.
We must also be visionary with our investments. Recreational and quality of life projects benefit not only our community today but also future generations. Projects like expanding the Big Sioux River Greenway Trail, improving our parks and aquatic facilities, investing in our public library facilities to connect residents with ideas and information to enrich their lives, and helping veterans move from homelessness into finding security with stable housing through the Veterans Community Project are just a few ways we are being visionary in our approach to improve quality of life for residents now and into the future.
The investments made through the Sioux Falls For All strategic investment plan will also give us the opportunity to make a lasting impact across the community. In sum, the one-time investments from the Sioux Falls For All plan are worth more than $53 million—an investment that is almost the equivalent of one year of the capital plan.
These funding priorities are anchored in the One Sioux Falls framework and were chosen to create the greatest possible positive impacts to our city. Those goals include framework tenets like workforce diversification, accessible housing and youth outreach, and areas of increased need within the safety and health tenet.
We must also be tenacious when dealing with challenging issues like accessible housing and reducing juvenile crime. Through the 2026 Housing Action Plan, for instance, we are addressing this challenging issue through a multifaceted, collaborative approach. We will keep working through these tough issues together.
As we plan to meet the future growth of our city, our approach must continue to be strategic and visionary. It’s that same mentality that community leaders had when they started dreaming about future development at the Sioux Steel site a decade ago. They saw the potential for transformation and kept focused on that vision, knowing that it takes time for a legacy to develop.
The investments we’re making today for Sioux Falls are positioning our city for an even better and brighter tomorrow.