Simplified: Sioux Falls' outdoor pool season ends this weekend, but community conversations are just starting as the city looks to plan the future of some of its aging facilities.

Why it matters

  • About 196,000 visitors used Sioux Falls' outdoor pools this summer, which is about on pace with pre-pandemic levels, Parks Director Don Kearney said.
  • Those swimmers aren't using all outdoor pools at the same rate, though, Kearney added. The aging facilities like Frank Olson and Kuehn Park pools see far less traffic than newer pools like Drake Springs and Terrace Park.
  • As the parks department looks to plan the future of aquatics facilities for the next 50 years, they're looking to see what types of features people are most drawn to, as well as the shortcomings of existing pools that can be improved upon in future ones.
  • This community engagement process also marks the first time the parks department is using donated funds from its new Sioux Falls Parks Foundation.
"What (current attendance) tells us is that people are attracted and drawn to facilities that have more of those play features – shallower water vs. the tank-type pool where it's just a tank of water," Kearney said.

Remind me, which pools are getting replaced?

Three pools are getting fully replaced:

  • McKennan Park wading pool
  • Frank Olson pool,
  • And Kuehn Park pool.

And then Laurel Oaks and Terrace Park pools are expected to see renovations in the next four years.

How can I give feedback?

There will be several opportunities over the coming months to give in-person feedback through various community meetings.

  • The next ones are Wednesday (tonight) at 4:30 p.m. at the Kuehn Park Community Center and then at 6:30 p.m. at Cleveland Elementary.

The public can also give feedback on the interactive social pinpoint website – very similar to the community engagement process for Falls Park and the Downtown 2035 plan.

  • The site can be found here.
  • Kearney also advised folks to check back from time to time because updates will be posted on the website, as well.

What happens next?

Kearney said the goal is to have high-level concepts by the end of the year detailing future aquatics facilities.

Construction on the pools will be staggered so no more than one is closed at a time in the summer, he added.

  • The first pool to be replaced will be the McKennan Park wading pool.