SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The state Department of Social Services plans to move from 811 E 10th St. to another site in Sioux Falls. The DDS is located in an area that will be a focus of new development, according to the Riverline District, a group of community leaders in Sioux Falls.

The new location has yet to be determined but it could combine multiple state agencies such as the DSS into one site, a state official said.

“Twelve separate state agencies will move into this facility, including DSS,” Leah Haugen, special projects coordinator for the South Dakota Bureau of Administration (BOA) said in an email.

The BOA requested proposals for a site in September. The submission window closed in November.

Haugen said the state is “scoring the bids submitted and conducting interviews with those folks. We’re very close to making our selection.”

The newly planned facility is called a “Sioux Falls One Stop” facility.

“Customers are our top priority, and this will greatly enhance services to the people of Sioux Falls by allowing them to conduct business with a variety of state government services in one central location,” Haugen said in the email.

A group called the Riverline District announced on Jan. 31 that a purchase agreement had been secured for the property where the DSS is located. A similar agreement has been reached for the property known as Stadium Court. The Riverline District is a network of multiple organizations including community development, health care and business. It wants to develop an area that includes the intersection of 10th Street and Cliff Avenue which includes Drake Springs, down to Fawick Park.

The BOA requested proposals for a building with 232,000 usable square feet.

According to BOA documents posted for the RFP request, the 12 agencies to be located at one site would be: the Bureau of Administration, Bureau of Human Resources, Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Labor and Regulation, Department of Public Safety – Driver Licensing, Department of Revenue, excluding Lottery, and Department of Social Services.

Six of those would be public-facing buildings that would require direct access by the public: the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Labor and Regulation,
Department of Public Safety – Driver Licensing, and Department of Social Services.

The DSS campus area and the area referred to as the Riverline District are frequented by the homeless.

The Riverline District refers to the homeless population in that area on its website.

In a list of frequently asked questions the question What is being done to address the homelessness challenges in this area? is included.

The website response is this: “(The) Sioux Falls City Council is implementing a variety of task force recommendations to continue to help our homeless community. That work, along with the potential plans for the Riverline District and existing plans by the social service partners in this neighborhood, will all be considered in what the future of the district could entail.” 

In a Jan. 31 interview after the Riverline District network announcement, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken talked about the need to not increase the density of services to the homeless population in the downtown.

A vision for the Riverline District doesn’t necessarily mean ‘gentrifying’ the area, TenHaken said.

It does mean balancing the need for services to the homeless with the demand for the downtown to keep pushing east, TenHaken said.

TenHaken used the example of the ICAP and Bishop Dudley House homeless family project on Western Avenue as a way to make sure the homeless population’s needs are met without increasing the density of services in the downtown.

Representatives of the Riverline District did not specifically site plans for development but hinted it could be a mix of community, sports and other opportunities.

Lynne Keller Forbes, a co-chair of the Riverline District group, said there are no specific housing plans proposed for the Riverline District. Keller Forbes is the executive director of Dakota BUSINESS Finance (DBF), the South Eastern Development Foundation (SEDF), and the South Eastern Council of Governments (SECOG). SECOG has been involved in affordable housing projects in the region.

The group wants community feedback first so it can determine projects on the parcels under the purchase agreement, she said.