SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial start of fall, and the season is a welcome sight for crews in Sioux Falls following two derechos and a long summer of cleanup.
The derecho that swept through KELOLAND on May 12th took its toll on communities big and small.
“It’s been an all-summer event for us,” Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Park Operations Manager Kelby Mieras said.
Kelby Mieras is with Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation. He says the scope of work was the biggest challenge.
“The sheer amount of work that was out there and it was widespread, it was all across the city so it’s not like we could focus on one area,” Mieras said.
McKennan Park was hit hard. Trees were knocked to the ground while the fence on the south end of the tennis courts was flattened.
“That was a bit of a project. Of course the posts that were damaged had to be completely replaced, footings and all, so it was a bigger project than originally anticipated,” Mieras said.
Mieras says the new fence and footings were in place by mid-July.
“There was a tournament that did have to be relocated to a different park but we’re back up and running now,” Mieras said.
“I really love playing here, just pretty all-around and they’re awesome courts,” Former USF tennis player Megan Quandt said.
Megan Quandt is a former University of Sioux Falls tennis player who spent Labor Day on the court. She’s originally from Las Vegas but has spent the past six years in Sioux Falls.
“There’s so much to do here with the bike trails and the parks and everything is so pretty and green. We don’t have that in Vegas so it’s cool to see (laugh),” Quandt said.
But when the weather inevitably turns sour, crews will be ready.
“Unfortunately we’re good at it but yeah it would be nice to have some weather that’s not so severe, that doesn’t have the tree impacts that this summer did,” Mieras said.
Mieras says 500 trees were planted in Sioux Falls city parks last spring, with another 500 scheduled for next year, to help maintain the urban forest.