Mayor TenHaken Highlights the Power of Collaboration in 2023 State of the City

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Mayor Paul TenHaken delivered the first State of the City address of his second term Monday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The address looked back at some of the challenges Sioux Falls has faced within the past year while looking forward to what’s ahead in 2023 and beyond.

“We overcome challenges together and understand the importance of uniting to move our city forward. In 2022, we estimated another 6,284 people were added to Sioux Falls, and we issued a record $1.93 billion worth of permits, setting ourselves up for another year of historic growth,” said Mayor TenHaken. “We plan ahead to make the right investments at the right time. This is a team effort to make sure we’re doing our part for residents and businesses to thrive, especially through public/private partnerships.”

The word “collaboration” was intentionally mentioned more than a dozen times throughout the address, emphasizing how much we are able to get done as a city if we work together. Many projects and people were highlighted Monday morning.

There were several updates and announcements related to Quality of Life investments that will set Sioux Falls apart from others in the region. The Great Plains Zoo will start construction sometime in September to add a one-of-a-kind splash pad to its campus. This is a privately funded project that will make our public space at the zoo a destination for the region. The splash pad at Hayward Park will officially open on May 19. This is a public/private partnership between the City of Sioux Falls, Promising Futures Fund, and Leadership Sioux Falls. Part of the $2.25 million project included a synthetic turf dog park that has already been open. Mayor TenHaken also announced the City will be moving forward to establish mini-pitches in Sioux Falls. A mini-pitch is a small soccer field with boundaries that help keep the ball in play, creating fast-paced games. Once funding is secured, the plan is to install the first mini-pitch just north of the Terrace Park swimming pool on top of existing tennis courts that are being underutilized. This will create more recreation space for the growing sport of soccer in our community.

“It’s important we continue to make these neighborhood investments to provide easy access to positive and active gathering spaces,” said Mayor TenHaken. “I’m grateful for the public/private collaborations we’ve established that make these projects come to life to attract kids and families from all corners of the country to Sioux Falls.”

Some of the largest public/private investments are being made in Downtown Sioux Falls, which will transform the skyline and create something unlike anything else the city or even the region has seen. This includes the Downtown River Greenway, Steel District, Cherapa developments, Jacobson Plaza, Unity Bridge, and the Sweetman Planetarium.

“The economic and supply chain landscape has caused us to be deliberate because we want to do these projects right, not quickly, to ensure we’re maximizing the potential of them,” said Mayor TenHaken. “We as a city, though, are ready to make these investments. The time is now with the opportunities we have in front of us.”

The power of collaboration and partnership is critical for the public safety and health of residents. Mayor TenHaken praised the passing of Senate Bill 146 while emphasizing the work isn’t done. He’s committed to partnering with the Department of Corrections, public safety partners, and local education institutions to ensure that rehabilitation and programming for inmates remain at the forefront of discussion and action.

Several people in the community were also highlighted because of the work they’re doing to make a difference. That included Leo Diaz for his work with youth, Lynne Keller Forbes for her work in sustainability and housing, and Tamien Dysart and Vaney Hariri for their work building leaders in our community through their program, Leaders of Tomorrow.

“The State of our City depends on the leaders in it. The decisions I make today won’t matter tomorrow if the next generation doesn’t feel they have a place or purpose in our city. At the end of the day, collaboration will help Sioux Falls remain the place where grandparents want to retire, families want to raise their kids, and all generations want to unite and thrive together,” said TenHaken.

Before the Mayor gave his address, he was joined by Lynne Keller Forbes, Friends of the Riverline District co-chair, to discuss the Riverline District and what’s ahead for that project.


Contact Vanessa Gomez for State of the City transcript and presentation

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