Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken on Thursday delivered the annual State of the City address to scores of Sioux Fallsians at the Convention Center. He covered a wide variety of topics – here's a quick run-down of some of the newsiest tidbits.

Why it matters

  • TenHaken is now halfway through his second term as mayor, so, frankly, this isn't his first rodeo. His addresses in previous years have focused on managing growth, city values, and a pivot from an infrastructure-focused first term to a second term emphasizing quality of life investments.
  • This year's address focused on how Sioux Falls has historically made big investments and where those investments are today. That includes recognizing the 25th anniversary of the Washington Pavilion and the 10th anniversary of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.
"We are in the midst of incredible investments," TenHaken said.

Here's a "super simplified" look at things we learned

  • Police staffing struggles are ongoing. The city is 22 officers down from a fully staffed police department, TenHaken said, noting that public safety continues to be a top priority of his.
  • Microtransit is the vibe. New transit provider, Via, brought a new emphasis on microtransit (i.e. on-demand busing) this year, and TenHaken said microtransit rides are up 25% and are already expanding to more frequent availability in southeast Sioux Falls.
  • New public art is coming. TenHaken also announced a new privately-funded public art project coming to the Washington Pavilion in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
  • A wastewater milestone. The city has reached the halfway point on its wastewater expansion project, and TenHaken said it's on track to be completed before his term ends.
  • Jacobson Plaza is on track to open this year. The splash pad, inclusive playground and dog park are slated to open yet this year with the ice rink opening in early 2025.
  • Full speed ahead on the Riverline District. TenHaken said that 25 years from now, we could be having the State of the City address in the new downtown Riverline District. Next steps include a feasibility and economic impact study in the coming months, and talks of purchasing the land in the 2025 budget.
    • Earlier this week, TenHaken noted that it could be feasible to have more indoor recreation space at the existing convention center as early as 2030 – adding that the timeline isn't "gospel" at this point.
  • Get out and vote. TenHaken also invited a member of his Mayor's Youth Council to speak about the importance of participating in local elections – especially after such low voter turnout in the last City Council election.
  • TenHaken isn't a fan of repealing sales tax on food. The mayor also warned of an effort statewide to repeal sales tax on groceries – saying that if it passes, it could lead to South Dakota implementing a state income tax. He said the city needs to be intentional and cautious about spending every dollar.
"In the midst of some of this caution, we continue to dream big," TenHaken said, citing Sioux Falls' "unwavering commitment to progress."