Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken is focused on collaboration. And while his first term as mayor was marked by massive investments in infrastructure, Monday's State of the City address shows he's pivoting to more fun, collaborative, quality-of-life projects in his second term. Here's what he mentioned – and what he didn't.

Why it matters

  • In previous addresses during his term as mayor, TenHaken has focused largely on managing growth, infrastructure and public safety. This year, though, the emphasis was less about the work of the city itself and more about what city is doing with the help of the private sector.
  • TenHaken shared updated looks at several ongoing community projects, as well as announcing new amenities like a splash pad coming to the Great Plains Zoo and a "mini-pitch" soccer field coming to Terrace Park.
  • TenHaken also touted partnerships among public safety officials across the state in helping address recidivism rates and in getting a "truth-in-sentencing" bill passed in Pierre this session.
"Collaboration is what built Sioux Falls," TenHaken said. "And it continues to move Sioux Falls forward."

What were some of the fun projects TenHaken shared?

We got updated looks at a number of ongoing projects, including the river greenway, Hayward Park improvements, the Unity Bridge and Jacobson Plaza.

Some of these projects are taking longer than planned, TenHaken noted, but he stressed that the delays are because the city is doing its best to be strategic amid economic uncertainty.

"We want to do it right, not just quickly," he said.

Here's some renderings:

A new splash pad will open in May 2024 at the Great Plains Zoo.

A new fitness court is coming to Rotary Park and is expected to open in June.

A "mini pitch" soccer field is coming to Terrace Park, and TenHaken said the parks department is looking for more spots around town to place these amenities.

Upgrades to Hayward Park, including a splash pad and dog park, are set to open May 19.

We also got a look at the latest renderings for the next phase of the downtown river greenway.

Construction is also now underway for the Unity Bridge on Sixth Street.

And Jacobson Plaza – which will include an ice ribbon and an accessible playground – is opening later than planned, but TenHaken said after the third phase of the River Greenway goes to bid, the Jacobson Plaza is next on the list.

What were some topics TenHaken didn't mention?

TenHaken's address gave a brief mention to sustainability in terms of the city's efforts to improve water quality in the Big Sioux River.

  • However, the mayor made no mention of the city's ongoing Sustainable Sioux Falls plan. That plan has had a tumultuous path over the last year after the first draft got sent back to the drawing board.
  • More recently, TenHaken's administration has faced criticism (and a petition with more than 800 signatures) after adding major edits to the plan. Critics say the new plan "removes all meaningful, concrete goals" as well as removing all mentions of "climate change" and "greenhouse gases." Get that full story here.

The mayor also made no mention of changes coming to the city's public transit system.

  • The transit team is in the process of assessing and re-drawing bus routes, as well as transitioning to a model with fewer fixed routes and more on-demand transit.

TenHaken's address also made no mention of the ongoing child care crisis in Sioux Falls.

  • The city was one of the partners funding the Community Childcare Initiative, a six-month effort (wrapping up this month) to try to find practical solutions to the lack of child care options for Sioux Falls parents and the challenges facing child care workers.

What happens next?

So much.

All of the projects mentioned are on their own timelines, so I guess you'll have to just keep reading Sioux Falls Simplified for updates throughout the year.