SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Sioux Falls is hosting an open house to discuss the draft of the Downtown 2035 plan August 10 from 4-7 p.m. at the Downtown Library.
Community members will be able to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed plan. If anyone cannot attend the open house, they can provide comments on the plan on the Downtown 2035 website.
“We spent a lot of time doing public engagement from the start of this process and this is kind of the summary of all that engagement,” Downtown Sioux Falls Business Development coordinator Dustin Powers said. “There may be pieces that we missed or people now that are coming to the table and want to express their opinions.”
Downtown Sioux Falls will take the feedback they receive at the open house, determine what areas are the highest priority and finalize the plan around October.
Some of the main topics that were discussed were closing sections of Phillips Ave to traffic, parking meter payment methods and building new indoor and multi-season activity centers.
For Isaac Iverson, a resident of downtown, walkability and making streets safer for pedestrians are important to him as he is currently car-free and walking everywhere. He also expressed frustration with the number of parking lots in the neighborhood instead of places for people to work and live.
“You go to other downtown areas and they’re bustling with a lot of local streets and then you have downtowns that look like Phillips Avenue, where we have about three blocks that look like Phillips Avenue and then you got a big parking lot,” he said.
Barb Johnson, who also lives downtown, is concerned with the amount of accessibility downtown has and would like to see that improved as a part of the 2035 plan. She’s also concerned with the traffic flow now that downtown has expanded.
“I’m really worried about whether we put enough forethought into the traffic flow with all the new development and how that’s going to work smoothly,” she said. “We’re putting a lot of development in here in terms of residents, businesses, hotels. So how’s the traffic going to work?”
The Downtown 2035 plan focuses on six core values: Welcoming for All, Connected, Growth and Development, Community Spirit, Branding, Identity and Marketing and Quality and Design.
- Under “Welcoming for All,” the plan is to add a multifunctional, year-round recreational facility, improve public restrooms and ensure an active police presence.
- The “Connected” plan includes creating a safer pedestrian environment, adding wayfinding kiosks and improving access from downtown to the bike trails.
- “Growth and Development” phase includes adding additional housing and corporate headquarters downtown.
- “Community Spirit” would mean increasing the arts and entertainment programs downtown, encouraging historic preservation and investing in spaces where artists can create and hold educational events.
- The plans in the “Branding, Identity and Marketing” phase are to define the downtown districts, establish a cohesive design for marketing elements and increase social media presence.
- “Quality and Design” refers to improving the curb appeal of downtown by adding more vegetation and shade trees, monitoring noise pollution and implementing electric vehicle charging stations.
Throughout the next eight years, the City of Sioux Falls and Downtown Sioux Falls will begin implementing these plans into the fabric of downtown based on the priorities people indicated at the open house.