TenHaken discusses cleanup, debris, Falls Park

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In a week that saw three tornadoes tear through Sioux Falls, high water levels are the big ongoing story Friday night.

Officials are keeping watch on various spots in eastern KELOLAND. One of those is Falls Park in Sioux Falls, where we caught up with Mayor Paul TenHaken, who warned people about the city’s namesake.

“One, Falls Park’s pretty dangerous right now, so people need to just approach this area with caution,” TenHaken said. “But two, we are seeing the Big Sioux at about its crest: hopefully, based on the data we’ve gotten. So people asking about flooding and sandbagging, we’re staging some sandbags at the 41st and Lotta area and down in those areas, but hopefully we won’t have to use them.”

In addition to monitoring flooding, TenHaken wants to make sure everyone knows what resources are available for the cleanup.

Dan Santella: Mayor, how is the cleanup going?
Mayor Paul TenHaken: The cleanup’s going well. We got a lot of work to do. There’s still a lot of debris out there, and what we’ve been directing residents to do is really three things: first, if you can haul that debris away yourself, that’s option number one. If that’s not an option, you either can’t do that physically or don’t want to do it, call 211, Helpline Center. And we’ll get a crew out there, volunteer crew to help. If it’s too much for that crew, the lumber’s too big, whatever, then the City will come out, and we’ll assess it. We’ll see if we need to bring a contractor in, the City to bring it in. Right now our focus has been relying on volunteers to really help us out, so we can focus on some of the pending flooding issues we may have, clearing right of ways, all those things, so the community has really stepped up, been incredible.

Dan Santella: We see a damaged Sioux Falls right now, but also a resilient Sioux Falls. As the mayor of this city, what’s it like seeing this resilience?
Mayor TenHaken: You know what, I use the phrase ‘One Sioux Falls’ a lot, and I’ve seen it in action over the last 70 hours. I mean, if you think about it, we’re less than three days into this, we’ve had almost 6,000 loads of debris, mostly from volunteers and homeowners brought to landfill drop-offs. We got inmate labor out there helping out working together, I’ve seen schools, football teams step up, so our community is great, was reinforced once again with this response.

You can find the interview with TenHaken below.

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