A look at the Meridian District

Eye on KELOLAND

YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – In many cities across KELOLAND, the downtown area offers a variety of things for people to do, from shopping, to dining, to just a place to hangout. One downtown community has been growing and becoming better developed.

Brennan Ewald and Mandi Gause have owned a downtown business in Yankton since the end of 2016. Boston Shoes to Boots has been in this location for nearly 50 years, and these owners say it’s a perfect spot for their business.

“We loved that it was downtown because that was kind of at the beginning of some popularity for revitalizing downtown and so we’ve stayed here and we’re actually working on a remodel here so we’re staying here and this is where it started so we think that’s important,” co-owner Boston Shoes to Boots, Mandi Gause said.

“I love the walkability of it, we’ve got great, big sidewalks you can walk from one store to the other, there’s a lot of professional services that are down here, it’s nice when you want to grab a sandwich or a coffee or a smoothie down the street that’s perfect, you can walk to and from all the banks that are down here,” co-owner Boston Shoes to Boots, Brennan Ewald said.

The downtown area of Yankton has been dubbed the ‘Meridian District,’ a place where people can shop, dine, and walk, according to President of the Meridian District board, Tyler Buckman.

“What we try to do and what we will try to continue to do is highlight not just retail, not just professional, not just certain businesses, we want to highlight everybody individually so that people are aware where they can get these services,” Buckman said.

But it’s taken hard work to get this area of town thriving.

“I would say for how many years that we’ve been doing this board and trying to get people involved, we’ve seen dramatic improvements, and it could just be because I work it every day and I see those things,” Buckman said.

And even more work to continue that.

“Eventually we’d even like to get into assisting businesses getting started up, recruiting businesses, as well as assisting current ones. We say shop, dine, walk, we also would like to see an aspect of living downtown and I think you have to have multiple things that make a downtown successful. We can’t just have events, or just marketing, or just restaurants, we have to have all these things to be successful at one time,” Buckman said.

Another place people can check out in downtown Yankton is the Meridian Bridge. It’s a place where people can go for a walk, go for a run, and even check out a view of the Missouri River.

“It’s just great to have people come down, see what’s down here, be able to do stuff outside and make it one of those family oriented places to be,” Buckman said.

That has these business owners really enjoying their location downtown.

“I feel like in a way people are rediscovering our downtown and the Meridian District, they’re coming down here for an event and if it’s at the end of 3rd Street or if it’s on 4th Street or 2nd Street or whatever, they are maybe walking by a business that they didn’t know was there or they’re not that familiar with,” Ewald said.

And looking forward to the future.

“We will be here, we will be doubling the size of our shoe space and we plan to be here forever, in my opinion, it’s the place to be, and we love our location,” Gause said.

Buckman says they’d like to hear from visitors and residents about how to keep downtown growing.

They’ve also had success with promoting events downtown such as Crazy Days, First Friday, and the Festival of Lights.

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