Simplified: The Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department has a plan for bringing back open gym on the weekends now that it's no longer available at community centers. Here's more on an option presented to City Council on Tuesday.

Why it matters

  • City Council earlier this year tasked the parks department with finding options for indoor meeting space and indoor recreation. The request came after the Sioux Falls School District took over responsibility for community centers as part of citywide changes to after-school programming.
  • On Tuesday, Recreation Manager Jackie Nelson shared a number of indoor event space options community members can rent for birthday parties, family reunions, etc. She also shared a proposal to extend the city's existing partnership with the YMCA to include funding the staffing needed to host an open gym on both the east and west sides of town.
  • It's likely this would only be a temporary agreement because the city is looking at the possibility of building an indoor pool and recreation center as part of ongoing conversations about the need for a quality of life bond.
"There's lots of affordable options (for indoor recreation), but there's definitely a need for more – especially with our exit from the (community) centers until we have our indoor recreation space," Nelson said.

Tell me more about the potential YMCA partnership

The proposal would provide four hours per day of open gym on  weekends, as well as on days where there's no school during the school year.

  • Locations haven't yet been identified, but the goal would be to have one open gym (likely in an existing elementary school) on the east side and one on the west side, as well as the YMCA's downtown location as a central option on Saturdays.

The proposal would cost between $85,000 and $90,000 per year.

The city's existing agreement with the YMCA is to provide after-school programs and transportation at the six public middle schools in Sioux Falls. The proposal would amend that agreement to include open gym.

  • It would increase the city's contribution to the YMCA from $144,282 over eight months to about $233,000.

Councilor Rich Merkouris asked to include some data tracking in a partnership with the YMCA to see what the community is asking about – whether it's rooms for birthday parties, use of open gym, etc.

"That's really good for us to know as we're looking at that bond issue," Merkouris said. "So we're not building something that the public doesn't have an appetite for."

What happens next?

It'll be up to the City Council to decide on whether or not to allocate those extra funds to the YMCA.