The City of Sioux Falls has started a nationwide search for a key position. 

The longtime Director of Planning and Development Services is retiring. 

As KELOLAND News explains, the next director will be instrumental as the city experiences record growth.

From cleaning up downtown Sioux Falls to creating new parks and adding onto the city’s outskirts, Mike Cooper has played a role in the city’s growth for more than 30 years. 

“When I started, since then, we’ve added almost 100,000 people within the city limits alone,” Director of Planning and Development Services Mike Cooper said.

Cooper first started working for the city in 1986, when crews were just starting to remove the pedestrian mall from the downtown area. 

“There was not a lot of activity going on downtown. It was pretty bleak. You look now. It’s just phenomenal,” Cooper said.

With Cooper retiring in April, the city has started a nationwide search for his replacement. 

“To maintain the growth we’ve had in the city and to keep that moving forward, this position is responsible for that, so for all intents and purposes, it’s one of our biggest positions,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

In addition to the services you would typically think of with planning and development, the position also oversees transit and housing.

“A lot of skill sets are needed to be rolled into one position for this to be successful, which is why it’s such a critical role for the city,” TenHaken said.

A role that Cooper says has been difficult at times but very fulfilling.

“I can think of almost every quadrant of Sioux Falls where there has been opposition to something over the years, whether it was a business or apartment building or something else. You look back and say, ‘I think it turned out pretty good,'” Cooper said.

A good run for a man who has played a pivotal role in hundreds of projects. 

Cooper says he still wants to stay involved in the community in some way. 

You can take a look at the job posting here.