Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Back to cold (and maybe snowy??)

This week, I've got a look at the big vision for the Riverline District (spoiler: it's not a sports stadium). I'll also tell you about a new job within the county to encourage a "no wrong door" approach to community services. Plus, find a roundup of local events, details on a business scholarship opportunity and some Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


How a 'no wrong door' approach will bolster the county's system of support

Simplified: Minnehaha County has a new, full-time position focused on connecting various resources within the community. Here's what to know about their push for a "no wrong door" approach to support systems for people experiencing homelessness.

person in red sweater holding babys hand
Photo by Hannah Busing / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls is rich in services to help unhoused folks, but it's lacking in systems to connect those services together, said Brett Johnson, the county's new community services engagement manager.
  • Johnson has worked with the county's Department of Human Services for more than a decade, and his new role will be focused on supporting families experiencing homelessness. He'll also be working to strengthen the relationship between the county and the City of Sioux Falls in helping find permanent housing solutions for those who need help.
  • The hope is that the county can help connect and streamline all available resources so that when someone asks for help, they can find it, even if they're starting at a place that may not technically be best suited to help them.
"Ultimately everybody needs to work just as hard to be the right door, even if they're not the right door," said Kari Benz, director of Minnehaha County Department of Human Services. "So many people, they make that effort ... to ask for assistance, and then when they're met with 'oh you're not ours,' it's hard to go back a second time or a third time to make that same ask."

Tell me more


City reveals vision for new convention center in Riverline District

Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken on Monday announced a "2050 vision" for what the city is calling the Riverline District east of downtown, and step one is allocating about $8 million for the city to purchase the land as the site of a future convention center.

Why it matters

  • Monday's announcement comes a little over a year after the idea for the Riverline District was originally pitched as a way to redevelop a 10-acre site near the 10th Street viaduct between Nelson and Fawick Parks.
  • Back then, the emphasis was on the potential for a new sports stadium or some other type of indoor recreation. But after about 1,600 community survey responses last year, TenHaken on Monday instead focused on the potential sales tax revenue a new, state-of-the-art convention center could bring to downtown Sioux Falls.
  • The long-term pitch is for the existing convention center to be repurposed into an indoor recreation space – a point emphasized by the dozens of children who were bussed in to be present for Monday's event, which included a number of games from basketball to soccer to pickleball.
"The cake is not baked at all," TenHaken said Monday of the Riverline District property. "This is purely a vision."

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This scholarship honors business leaders who died and supports future ones

This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Simplified: The Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship helps college and technical school students who are pursuing a degree in business, and its history is rooted in the important role the Sioux Falls Development Foundation has played in the region's economic development.

Why it matters

  • The scholarship honors the Sioux Falls men who were killed in a tragic plane crash more than 30 years ago – David Birkeland, Angus Anson, and Roger Hainje. On April 19, 1993, a small, state-owned airplane crashed in eastern Iowa, killing eight people, including Gov. George Mickelson, who were returning from an economic development meeting in Ohio.
  • The flight had been returning to Pierre after an important meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio with leaders from John Morrell, whose parent company was facing years of losses and starting to divest from its meat division. The plant was ultimately saved.
  • Thirty years later, the Foundation honors those lost in the crash with a scholarship to support the next generation of business leaders.
"The work of economic development is extremely important, and the Development Foundation has been a driving force; continuing the legacy of these three leaders and professionals who dedicated their careers to the community," said Karen Ruhland, director of research, membership and communications for the Foundation. "This scholarship is one small way of furthering that work."

Tell me more about the scholarship


Super Simplified Stories

  • Local school board member selected for national fellowship. Sioux Falls School Board member Dawn Marie Johnson was one of 99 people nationwide selected for the School Board Partners National Fellowship. Fellows are trained in six high-impact areas: hiring, anti-racist policy-making, representing the community, developing goals, school performance frameworks, and budget and resource management.
  • Boe Forum tickets available now. New York Times columnist and author David Brooks will talk about the rule of law and the future of democracy during the 27th Augustana Boe Forum on March 19. Tickets are free and can be acquired here.


Stuff to do: Feb. 7-13

  • Woo at the zoo. Enjoy an adults-only date night at the zoo from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday – in which you can learn all about the wild ins and outs of animal romance. Your ticket includes light appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks, and beer and wine are available for purchase. Details here.
  • Support the Big Sioux. Friends of the Big Sioux River is hosting the 2024 Big Sioux Film Festival fundraiser on Thursday night. Stop by and support the nonprofit's effort to clean up our city's namesake river. Details and tickets here.
  • Puppies on ice. It's the 17th Annual Wiener Dog Night at the Sioux Falls Stampede on Saturday. The game starts at 6 p.m., and there'll be a wiener dog race between periods. Tickets will likely sell out, but there are still some available here.
  • Shop slow. Last Stop CD Shop is hosting a pop-up of local thrifters from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. You'll find stuff from Modstash Vintage, 605 Thrift, Bellaboo Threads and Aviena. Details here.
  • Celebrate with the gal-entines. There are tons of "galentines" events this weekend, but I found a few for you to choose from. You can make perfume at Lupulin Brewing, party in a new place at Mode, take a lettering or flower workshop at Simply Perfect, and enjoy a pop-up shop at Buffalo Ridge Brewing.
  • Don your flannels. It's "Flannel Fest" at Remedy Brewing Company on Saturday afternoon. Pull on your coziest flannel gear and enjoy a special beer release, live music and a "meat and greet" smoking competition. Details here.


What I'm falling for this week:


More Simplified Stories

How local lawmakers are faring so far in Pierre
Sioux Falls-area lawmakers are prime sponsors of more than 40% of the proposed legislation (including bills, resolutions and commemorations) in Pierre.
How a grant-funded partnership will support childcare providers
A number of community organizations in Sioux Falls are working together to help more people open daycares in Sioux Falls and to connect parents with open spots.
Meet the woman bringing a “microschool” to Sioux Falls
Home-schooling has been on the rise in South Dakota in recent years, and now a Sioux Falls woman is looking to give parents another alternative to traditional schooling with a new “microschool.”


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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or Super Bowl predictions to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.