A look through the history of downtown Sioux Falls

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – If you’ve grown up in or around Sioux Falls, you’ve probably spent some time downtown. It’s become a vibrant part of the city.

Between urban redevelopment and natural disasters such as floods and fires, downtown Sioux Falls has seen many changes, yet the heart of it remains.

“The city grows and develops and yeah, I think one of the things that’s really great is it still has that hometown, smaller town feel,” Bill Hoskins, director of the Siouxland Heritage Museums, said.

While the Downtown area has seen its hardships —

“I remember the time period of the downtown mall that really killed business and anybody coming downtown,” Hoskins said.

It’s also created some fond memories.

“My experience with downtown Sioux Falls goes back over 40 years,” DTSF President Joe Batcheller said. “I was coming down here as a kid to visit my dad at work and he worked at the site where Cherapa and so I’ve seen that particular piece of land evolve quite a bit.”

“You know, when I moved to Sioux Falls 21 years ago, my first volunteer experience was with an organization called Main Street Sioux Falls, that was before it was called Downtown Sioux Falls,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “And we were tackling problems then of a loop, of high vacancy rates, of some crime challenges. The downtown then was very different than it was today.”

Though a lot has changed over the years, as you walk the streets you can still see remnants of the past.

“You get people like the late Jeff Hazard who really had a vision of how these old structures could really function in the modern world and be valuable assets for our downtown streetscape,” Hoskins said.

And next to those old structures, new ones have emerged and new ideas are in the works.

In Monday night’s Eye on KELOLAND, we look to the future of downtown Sioux Falls as the city prepares to put millions of dollars into it’s core.

The Old Courthouse Museum currently has a photographic exhibit that looks at the history of downtown Sioux Falls.

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