Simplified: Sioux Falls has a chance to redevelop 10 acres of land east of downtown, and both the city and local economic development groups are looking to the community for guidance on what to put there.
Why it matters
- City and community leaders announced the new "Riverline District" to a packed Belbas Theater at the Washington Pavilion on Tuesday morning. The new district is a 10-acre stretch of land between Nelson and Fawick Parks, near the 10th Street viaduct.
- Five community organizations have kicked in the earnest money needed to secure an 18-month purchase agreement for the land, which gives developers and the city time to get community input and figure out a plan before agreeing to a final purchase.
- There's no set plan for what the space could hold. But, much of Tuesday's press conference focused on the history of sports in that part of town and what new indoor-outdoor recreation opportunities might mean for downtown and the surrounding Whittier neighborhood.
"We have a chance to kind of restore this are of downtown to what it was," Mayor Paul TenHaken said Tuesday after showing photos of a former baseball field on the property that's now the Department of Social Services' 10th Street building.
How did the Riverline District come to be?
Conversations started as part of the Downtown 2035 planning process, said Natalie Eisenberg, Click Rain CEO and co-chair of the Friends of the Riverline District group.
- A market analysis conducted as part of that plan identified the area east of downtown as an "opportunity zone," Eisenberg said.
- About six months ago, the Friends of the Riverline District group started meeting, and different groups got together to kick in the money to start making a potential purchase possible.
What will this cost?
It's too soon to say.
Eisenberg and fellow Co-Chair Lynne Keller-Forbes declined to comment on a potential purchase price for the land, the purchase agreement of which is currently held by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
- TenHaken said it is "very likely" the city will ultimately purchase the land, though, and will then decide on negotiating sales or leases to private developers.
Beyond the land itself, any future development costs are also unknown. That includes any costs to taxpayers.
"All we're doing is dreaming right now," TenHaken said.
What types of development could we see?
The focus is to create spaces for community recreation, and TenHaken said he's heard a demand from the public to have more year-round recreation opportunities.
A community survey – which as of Tuesday night had already seen dozens of responses – also asks for input on other amenities, shopping, restaurants, housing and more.
Who are the groups involved in this project so far?
Five entities got together to come up with the $250,000 needed for both the earnest money and the cost of the website/community survey. Those are:
- Forward Sioux Falls
- Downtown Sioux Falls
- Experience Sioux Falls
- Southeastern Development Foundation, and
- Dakota Business Finance.
There are also 40 members of the Friends of the Riverline District group, including representatives from the Sioux Falls City Council, the school board, the city and many businesses in town.
What happens next?
The group's first goal is community input. A survey will be available for the community to fill out until March, and then they'll look at developing a plan for what the Riverline District could include.
There's no timeline for any construction. The first step before any dirt moves would be someone actually agreeing to purchase the property sometime between now and mid-2024.