The Whittier neighborhood in central Sioux Falls is much more than a community of homes. It’s businesses as well as organizations helping the city’s less fortunate, too.
Sioux Falls city councilor Theresa Stehly tells KELOLAND News that she sent an email to the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, The Banquet and the St. Francis House, as well as to homeowners and businesses in the area. She shared the email with KELOLAND News, and in the email she details what she wants to see happen in the Whittier neighborhood, including having a heavier police presence and places on public land where people can use the restroom.
“I’ve been hearing from people about some of these people who are congregating around the Bishop Dudley and Banquet facilities, and then they go out during the day, and they’re passing out in people’s lawns and in business parking lots,” Stehly said. “And so I think we need to develop something to help alleviate that.”
Dave Gillen lives in the neighborhood.
“I grew up here, and over the years it’s just, seems to get worse and worse and worse,” Gillen said. “I mean, our kids can’t even go down to the park and play anymore.”
He’s discovered needles in his lawn.
“Absolutely,” Gillen said. “Couple a week. Every time we mow.”
“What I’m hearing from people is we need more police presence in the area, and the idea of a police precinct, a small one on a piece of property nearby would be so helpful,” Stehly said.
Stehly says dialogue will be essential.
“I want to see us comingle with the Bishop Dudley and The Banquet and the Union Gospel Mission in a way that is going to help other parts of that area be vibrant as well,” Stehly said.
She says different interests here can all benefit at the same time.
“I think we can find ways to help the homeless and help our residents and help our businesses at the same time,” Stehly said.
KELOLAND News asked Stehly what comes next. She says conversations will happen with the city, and resolutions and ordinances at the City Council are possible.