You can help shape the future of Sioux Falls parks

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Over the next few years, the Sioux Falls Parks Department is looking to plan some major changes to many of their public parks, but they can’t do it without the public.

The parks department’s master plan is still a ways away from truly kicking off, but they need some help from the true master behind the plan: you.

For months now, the Parks Department has been collecting data for their Comprehensive Parks and Recreation System Plan.

“It’s a comprehensive look at the entire parks system and assessing where are we at now, where do we want to go and how are we going to get there,” Director of the Parks Department Don Kearney said.

“We’re looking at everything from facilities, to the programs we offer, the maintenance we do on our facilities… kind of a soup to nuts look at everything in our department,” Parks Development Specialist Tory Miedema said.

Surveys taken by the public and several consultants are helping them narrow down what innovations they need to bring to the parks system.

“Then we start going into the analysis and trying to find those gaps; trying to find those common themes that are coming up,” Miedema said.

“Falls park is always a really popular topic; you know, it’s our flagship park… wanting upgrades, you know, there’s talk about it, us actually outgrowing some of the facilities that were originally put into Falls Park,” Miedema said.

“And then, you know, pools are always a big thing, everybody loves pools. You remember those pools growing up here in Sioux Falls, and trails are continuing to be popular, and then green space preservation is a thing that continues to be popular as well as the water quality of the Big Sioux River,” Kearney said.

And even adding more parks to the 80 that already cover Sioux Falls.

“Right now our goal is to have a park within a half a mile of every resident, so the people that are moving here into some of those outlying neighborhoods are wondering, ‘When are we going to get our park,?'” Miedema said.

Right now, before they can get things moving on the public parks, they really need public input.

“The key thing we look at is ‘What are the needs people are expressing for parks and recreation in Sioux Falls?” We really do need space programming and service provision because people that live in Sioux Falls should drive what we do as a department, and that’s really important to us. And that’s why it’s important for us to be able to get the feedback from the community and where they think our priorities should be,” Kearney said.

You still have until November to take the online survey and express what you’d like the city to do about the parks.

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