Mayor’s Column: Summer of New Opportunities

From fall football to spring soccer and winter skiing to summer baseball and softball, the City of Sioux Falls offers a wide-range of activities for all seasons of the year. That’s part of what makes this city so special. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered life in 2020 and our summer will be different this year. But just because it’s different doesn’t mean COVID will cancel our ability to have fun.

Here’s another way to look at it: Summer 2020 is a summer for new opportunities. We all have the opportunity to enjoy much of what makes summer in Sioux Falls memorable and entertaining as well as explore new activities, hobbies and traditions. For my family and I, fishing, spending time at our neighborhood park, and plenty of trips to the Zoo and Pavilion are already on our radar.

This summer is a good opportunity for us to focus on our wellness—that includes both mental and physical health. We need to take care of our respiratory health by taking precautions to avoid spreading and contracting illnesses. We also need to take care of our mental health by safely interacting with others at a safe distance, reading and doing the activities that help us relax and recharge.

It’s also important to take care of our physical health by being active outdoors. In April, I launched a 100 Days, 100 Miles challenge with the hashtag #100Days100MilesSF. Whether you’re running on the Bike Trail or getting your miles in through gardening or walking around your neighborhood, it has been incredible to see so many of you participating! Now is a great time to get outside and get active on your neighborhood sidewalks or the City’s fantastic Bike Trail System. Keep moving, Sioux Falls! It’s good for your mental and physical health, plus it can boost the immune system.

City teams at Siouxland Libraries and Parks and Recreation will be busy offering programs and activities throughout the city to keep kids and families engaged, enriched, entertained and active. The supervised park play program has expanded its schedule. We are also adding more fire hydrant parties in neighborhoods. We are also expanding the hours of the recreation centers so that kids have a place to cool off and enjoy activities. Stay tuned to the City’s social media and website as schedules get announced.

Each summer, many of you also stay active with softball, baseball and other organized sports. After consulting with the various league organizers on their safety protocols, the City is opening up the field application process for the summer season. When teams play ball this year, it will certainly be different as players, coaches, officials and spectators take safety precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19. If you’re in a league, watch for information from your league on the details of your season. Also, be sure to hold your league organizers accountable. If you feel greater mitigation efforts are needed or mitigation efforts are not being followed, let your league know your concerns.

This summer we also plan to partner with the Great Plains Zoo and Washington Pavilion to offer free admission to qualifying families for June, July and August 2020. Pending the approval of the City Council, those who present documents such as a SNAP Benefits Card, a School Lunch Letter, or a Medicaid Card in addition to proof of address can enjoy these City-owned attractions.

Summer in Sioux Falls may be different in 2020, but it will be fun. Your city is hard at work to provide activities and programs to keep us active. It will certainly be a memorable summer with opportunities to explore new interests while also enjoying many of the things that make South Dakota summers special. Let’s all take care of ourselves and our neighbors in the months ahead and let’s have fun!

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