Simplified: Five Sioux Falls pools will be renovated or replaced by 2026, and the first-ever donation from the new Sioux Falls Parks Foundation will kickstart a community survey that will help with the design.

Why it matters

  • The Sioux Falls Parks Foundation donated $137,000 to the city. The foundation – formed last fall – is a branch of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, and most of the money will fund a community engagement study to let Sioux Falls citizen share their ideas for the parks.
  • The donation also includes about $37,000 toward a $55,000 study how the city can better understand how to attract donations through naming rights. The city will pick up the tab for the rest of the bill for that study.
  • Three neighborhood pools – Frank Olson, Kuehn Park and the McKennan Park wading pool – will be fully replaced, and another two – Laurel Oaks and Terrace Park – will see renovations in the next four years based on this plan.
“When we heard about the need for funds to help fund this community engagement process, we just started talking amongst ourselves, like maybe this would be a good first gift for us to make," Sioux Falls Parks Foundation President Jennifer Kirby said. "And it's something that's going to benefit the entire community and also serve the community for decades to come."

Tell me more about the process for new pools

Just under $100,000 of the Sioux Falls Parks Foundation donation will go towards a community engagement survey for the five target pools. The city will use a system called Social Pinpoint to help schedule meetings and gather comments from the community.

Three rounds of community meetings will be held to gather feedback from residents starting in July.

  • The first round will take general input about the park design to help with the first design ideas.
  • The second round will focus on making changes to the first design and continuing the conceptual planning.
  • The third round will finalize the designs for the park and tweak any last minute changes.

These meetings will be both within the neighborhoods and city-wide.

More information about the aquatics update plan is on page 54 of the capital improvements plan from the mayor. You can find that document here.

“It's probably been over the course of the last 10 or 15 years where the replacement of these pools have been on our radar and we really needed to formulate a plan for how we're gonna replace them, because a lot of them are at or near the end of their useful life,” Director of Parks and Recreation Don Kearney said.

How private donors fit in future city plans

Donations are already funding the aquatics community engagement study, and a potential agreement with BWF, a Minnesota company, could find untapped donor possibilities within the city.

  • BWF will look at all of the city's assets, not just within the parks.
  • The company will help the city find opportunities for donors, including naming opportunities, cause-related marketing and direct philanthropy, according to a presentation given to the City Council Tuesday afternoon.
"They'll also be able to use that (study) to match donors with projects in the park system," said Mike Patton, a park development specialist with the city.

What happens next?

Council approved the first reading of the plan to spend the foundation donation (plus about $18,000 in city funds) on the studies. Those move ahead for final approval June 21.

Surveys are set to start in July, with pool designs set to be finalized in 2023. If you want to participate in the survey and engagement process, let Parks and Recreation know.

  • The Capital Improvements Project allocated $1.9 million to fund that part of the pool renovation process.
  • An additional $500,000 will be allocated in 2024, when the first renovations can start.

All renovations are set to be completed by 2026 and will be staggered so pools aren't all closed at the same time.