SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — At first glance, it appears the residents of Sioux Falls want to bring a sports stadium to downtown Sioux Falls’ newest neighborhood, the Riverline District. But a closer look at public comments in support of the stadium shows that hundreds of people oppose the idea.

The Riverline District public comment page was created to gather input from the Sioux Falls community on what residents would like to see in the newly announced neighborhood. Those filling out the survey and leaving comments are given five choices to suggest how to fill the space: idea, sport type, comment, amenity type and trail idea.

KELOLAND News analyzed 125 of the comments and found that while sports stadium appears to be the most popular type of comment on the page, there’s pushback within the comments themselves.

The interactive map allows residents to drop a pin on a certain location and add an idea of how to use the space while also allowing users to either “like” or “dislike” the comment and start a discussion thread. Many of the comments expressing a desire for a sports stadium show hundreds of users disliking the comment in comparison to a small number of those “liking” the comment.

The map also allows residents to see the most popular comments provided by users. As of now, the 30 most popular responses either show a strong disdain for a sports stadium or express the desire for amenities like housing or pedestrian-friendly spaces.

“The survey asks us to dream but a stadium is not our dream it is Canaries owner dream,” the top comment reads.

Other top comments address a desire for housing, specifically affordable housing.

“When people of different socioeconomic backgrounds can afford to live in the same area, it fosters and cultivates a sense of community — something that many love about Sioux Falls,” another popular comment reads.

Residents interested in walkability, recreation

What residents seem to agree on in the new neighborhood is that the space should be more accessible to the rest of downtown with pedestrian bridges, well-lit spaces and an expanded bike trail.

Dozens of comments ask for a pedestrian bridge and wider paths for both bicyclists and pedestrians along the river. There are also a number of comments expressing a desire for an outdoor workout space along the trail for people to utilize during the warmer months. There were also several comments suggesting a potential river walk along the Big Sioux River comparable to San Antonio, Texas’ iconic River Walk.

“A pedestrian bridge that goes over the train tracks, connected to a well-lit and landscaped path to this soon-to-be-developed area of 8th & RR would [link] the East Bank and Riverline districts,” the second most popular comment reads. “The Haymarket Pedestrian Bridge in Lincoln, Neb. is a great example.”

In addition to making downtown more connected and walkable, residents are interested in expanding indoor recreation opportunities in Sioux Falls.

An indoor curling facility is mentioned several times throughout the public comment section.

“Sioux Falls needs more winter indoor activity space for people to do,” one comment reads. “Curling is one of the fastest growing sports and would be great to have a dedicated facility that could also hold a meeting/event space to be used year-round.”

Curling isn’t the only indoor recreation people are interested in, though, some have asked for a space for indoor track, swimming and pickleball. For outdoor recreation, comments show an interest in basketball courts, playgrounds that are wheelchair accessible, kayaks and canoes along the river and an expansion of green space in the area with the planting of more trees and a potential greenhouse.

Commenters believe that an indoor recreation facility in addition to restaurants and food trucks could provide a year-round space for families to utilize.

While Mayor Paul TenHaken and other stakeholders in the project have showed an interest in a sports stadium, TenHaken told the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Monday that no matter what the city would like to see a combination of indoor and outdoor recreation for the youth in the Whittier neighborhood.

Another area where commenters show some solidarity is parking.

“Avoid massive open parking lots,” one comment reads. “Parking ramps integrated into buildings are much better looking. They also allow there to be more green space.”

Residents seem to be in agreement that any additional parking in the Riverline District should be unique and incorporated into the architecture of the buildings. Some comments call for underground parking spaces to free up space for more amenities in the neighborhood.

There is also support for digital signage showcasing the Riverline District to better brand the new neighborhood and make it stand out.

Public comment for the Riverline District is open through March 24 at which point stakeholders and city officials will begin sorting through to determine how best to use the space in accordance with residents wishes.

You can submit a comment and engage with the ideas already posted on the Riverline District website.