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January 04, 2011 09:34 PM

SF Greenway Project Starts In The Snow

Sioux Falls, SD


Winter isn't typically the best time for construction, but work on the River Greenway in Downtown Sioux Falls started just a month ago. 
And, for this project winter this is the perfect time to bring in the dump trucks and back hoes.

"The trail will be right up against the water and then there will be landscaping and retaining walls and things like that just to make the area nice," Sioux Falls civil engineer Brad Ludens said.

The $5 million River Greenway project is being paid for through a 'quality of life' bond passed in 2009. The bike trail will be widened and moved right next to the river, and an amphitheater will be built for summertime shows and pedestrians. But, since the work is happening up against the river it had to happen in the winter.

"With doing the winter construction with the water level and the river being lower it allows us a little easier time during construction to construct the walls the way they need to be," Ludens said.

And with construction happening this winter officials hope to have the project completed by August, and they envision people coming down to the river to enjoy it as another downtown amenity.

"The main goal is to basically use the river as an amenity and as a drawing card to bring people downtown," Sioux Falls Parks Development Specialist Tory Miedema said.

As part of the project, crews will also tear down the old railroad bridge and replace it with a pedestrian bridge; all in an effort to make the Big Sioux the focal point of downtown instead of an after-thought.

"What we're hearing from the citizens and other cities is that the river can be great amenity it can be a nice backdrop. It's just a pleasant place to come and spend time," Miedema said.

Even if it's a cold construction site right now.

This is just the first phase of the greenway project, the city hopes to improve the river banks in the entire downtown area when the funding allows.
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