TEA, S.D. (KELO) — For years people have wondered when is Tea going to connect to Sioux Falls?
The answer to that question is soon. Not only is Sioux Falls inching closer to the once small town, developers have also been busy building homes and businesses on the north side of Tea.
“Last couple of years there’s been a lot of development,” Kevin Nissen Tea’s director of Planning and Zoning said.
A bird’s eye view, shot by our KELOLAND News drone pilot, shows just how much development is taking shape in the more than 260 acres northeast of Tea.
“This is the fun part of the job, this is what I like to do,” Nissen said.
Kevin Nissen, Tea’s director of Planning and Zoning, says this area along Interstate 29 has been named Bakker Landing.
It’s been years in the making and now it’s coming to fruition.
“Well right now it’s filling up fast,” Nissen said.
Three years ago the city of Tea annexed in this section of land along Interstate 29.
“We knew this land was going to be for sale, we knew there’s not much for land right along the Interstate,” Nissen said.
The state is considering building a new Diverging Diamond Interchange at 85th Street and I-29. Nissen says if that happens, he sees big things happening to Bakker Landing.
“My vision for this north half with a new interchange is hopefully landing a bigger retail customer,” Nissen said.
“Once construction starts with that interchange that whole northern half, it’ll take off very fast,” outgoing Tea mayor John Lawler said.
Outgoing Tea mayor John Lawler says Tea has grown consistently over the past 20 years, but lately, it’s turned into a bit of a ‘Tea party.’
“For so many years Tea has been a bedroom community to Sioux Falls, just like all the other communities around Sioux Falls, once you start adding developments like this along the Interstate where it creates more jobs and more activity, we’ve transitioned from that bedroom community to being a community that is self-supporting,” Lawler said.
“A lot of these businesses are calling us,”
Casey Voelker is the new mayor.
“I grew up in Tea, it’s not the Tea I remember, you know, it’s changing a lot,” Voelker said.
One of those changes is underway. This will be Nine Mile Lake.
Crews are in the process of putting in major sewer lines and digging a man made lake just west of the commercial development.
It’ll be a residential area that will basically connect Tea and Sioux Falls.
“Obviously the way Sioux Falls is growing businesses want to be a part of that and Tea as close as it is, they’re almost touching now,” Voelker said.
“Those homes and lots will be expensive, but hopefully people can work here and live over there, only 1/2 mile away,” Nissen said.
It’ll be something like this one called ‘Heritage Lake’ that’s basically in the same area surrounded by big beautiful homes.
Homes that are a big part of this fast changing landscape.
“It’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be fun, something I’m looking forward to,” Voelker said.
The new mayor says they are hoping to land a major retailer to be the anchor store of that area around 85th and I-29, but so far they’re not ready to announce anything just yet.