Eye on KELOLAND: The history behind Lake Lorraine


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — New businesses and homes are opening often at Lake Lorraine as the northwest Sioux Falls development continues to grow.

80% of the 130 acre-space is planned out. On top of Marshalls, DSW and Hobby Lobby, the site will be home to the city’s first Hyatt hotel next June and Dave & Buster’s next August.

With development going swimmingly at Lake Lorraine, it’s easy to forget how long it took to get here. While it’s a blossoming lake-themed community now, it was the stomping grounds of Patty Vognild’s childhood.

“It’s amazing. I still can’t even believe it. Sometimes there will be something in the news about Lake Lorraine. Literally, we all run to the TV and it’s just so exciting we can’t hardly believe that it’s happening,” Vognild said.

Vognild and her sister Cindy Monnin own the land through Friessen Development. They grew up in the Friessen family and remember swimming in a much smaller lake out here as kids with the help of their father Warren Friessen of Friessen Construction.

“So he’d bring a loader and he’d clear off all the weeds so that we could get by the water,” Vognild said.

The lake is much bigger now following 20 years of digging. It took about that same amount of time to come up with a name for the picturesque place.

“Lake Friessen sounded like cold and uninviting. Lake Warren didn’t sound right. I swear it was like 15 years, what do we name it? What do we name it?” Vognild said.

Lake Lorraine is actually a nod to Patty’s mother Hilda Lorraine Friessen, who died in 2017. Two of Hilda’s granddaughters also have Lorraine as their middle name.

“So now we have three generations of Lorraine as a middle name. That story is very important for me to tell,” Vognild said.

Another local family helping to tell that story and bring businesses here is the Van Buskirks.

“They’re the anchor to pull that regional business in because the local retailers can take advantage of their marketing power,” Van Buskirk said.

Steve Van Buskirk is the President of Land Development for Van Buskirk Companies. He says this new Hyatt hotel is set to open next June and he hopes restaurants follow.

“They want to connect a restaurant up to that hotel up there and then we’ll have another place in our main street area over here,” Van Buskirk said.

With retailers and office buildings at the lake, Van Buskirk says there’s a growing lunch crowd.

Matt Holsen: You should give Chipotle a call. Sounds like they’re coming…

Van Buskirk: Yeah. We called them. Everybody’s got a place to go. We’d love to see them and there’s a laundry list of people that always hits the list that you’d like to get in here. Hopefully we can land a couple of those.

Dave & Buster’s is set to open here next August. Aloft Hotel should start construction in the spring. You can also see the start of 58 town homes that will be part of The Shores at Lake Lorraine development. With a third of the lake walk complete, it’s truly becoming a place to live, work and play.

“It’s really a beautiful amenity and just a great chance for people to enjoy the outdoors,” Van Buskirk said.

10 years ago this month, Child’s Play Toys owner Nancy Savage opened her first store in downtown Sioux Falls. This spot south of Hobby Lobby will be her second store.

“We are filling it all the way up to the ceiling almost. We are going way up with toys,” Savage said.

Savage, a fierce advocate for downtown, says she’s sees a similar vibe out here.

“What I love about downtown is that whole community feel and that’s what I’m getting from here for sure,” Savage said.

“Right now, I see the fountain. I love it but I’m even looking more forward to seeing Dave and Buster’s and the hotel because all of that will bring people,” Savage said.

The dreaming continues. At a recent Halloween event hosted by Lake Lorraine, guests added to this wish list hanging on the wall.

Vognild: We kind of just polled all the people that came out here on Saturday to see what they had to say. Hopefully this will spark some people to come out and join us.

Matt Holsen: I like the White Castle too.

Land was just sold for another professional office building. Vognild also wants to bring in someone who can get people out on the water where her family used to swim and fish.

“We would like a business to have something down here where they can rent things to be on the water,” Vognild said.

The opportunities are overflowing and for Vognild, so is her pride for the lake community. She even gets emotional about it.

“So like HomeGoods, Marshalls, Hobby Lobby… My dad was parked in Ford on a Saturday and he was counting cars. He would call my sister and I and he’d say, ‘I just counted 200 cars in the last 10 minutes. I can’t believe there’s this many people driving into Lake Lorraine.’ I think that is a good story about how you think of something for so many years and then it’s finally happening and you can hardly believe it. I think that captures the feeling that our family has,” Vognild said.

A feeling the entire community can take part in now when they go to Lake Lorraine.

Van Buskirk says the new Hyatt hotel has been a long requested business in town by the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says the hotel will have a lakeside space for future weddings and events.

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