Happy Wednesday! Megan here.
Weather check: Precipitation anticipation
Status check: The inaugural Simplified Welcome Guide launches next week! Cool thing: you'll be the first to see it because you're subscribed to this newsletter.
This week, we'll look at the trend of increasing Airbnbs in Sioux Falls, the latest news on busing and COVID-19, and I'll show you how the city is planning Downtown 2035.
And now, news:
What more Airbnbs (and other short-term rentals) mean for Sioux Falls
Simplified: The number of short-term rental properties in Sioux Falls is growing, and as more of these Airbnb-type places pop up, we'll likely see more conversations in the city and state about how these properties are registered, taxed and regulated.
Why it matters
- Gauging the exact number of short-term rentals is tricky, and while estimates vary among industry reports, the upward trend is clear. AirDNA, a company providing analytics for the short-term rental industry estimates a growth in active rentals from 170 at the start of 2019 to more than 300 by the end of 2021.
- The increase in demand is keeping up with the increasing supply. Short-term rentals are seeing occupancy rates as high as 80% in the summer peak and between $1000 and $2500 in average monthly revenue, according to data from another industry analytics group, PriceLabs.
- It gets more complicated, though, in the broader community context when taking into account existing housing shortages, taxes and rental registration. But Sioux Falls is nowhere near the level of places like New Orleans and Los Angeles which have cracked down on short-term rentals.
"We're not as oversaturated as some cities with an abundance of Airbnbs," said Kayla Huizing, co-owner of Huizing Properties, which helps short-term rental owners in town. "It's not hard to make a name for yourself in Sioux Falls with your property, and it's proven to be successful."
And what comes next in the broader community conversation? More here.
How Sioux Falls is planning the future of downtown
Simplified: The City Council on Tuesday gave its unanimous support for the city to create a 2035 downtown plan. Here's what happens next.
Why it matters
- Sioux Falls' current 10-year downtown plan was adopted in 2014, and as its end approaches in 2025, it's time to take another look at how the vision might change in the next decade.
- The city planning department is overseeing the plan, but it'll be working closely with an advisory committee (approved by the council Tuesday) and seeking feedback from the community at large, too, said Community Development Coordinator Dustin Powers.
- Ultimately, the goal is to have a single document to help guide decision making in downtown over the next decade.
"We know downtown is kind of booming right now," Powers told Sioux Falls Simplified. "It's a great opportunity for us to leverage that and then use that success to really move to the future and establish the vision for the future."
And who's on the advisory committee? More here.
People are spending more in the region. Here's how that's affecting revenue.
This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.
Simplified: The Sioux Falls metro area is growing fast, and with more people and more building projects comes more spending. Here's a look at how sales tax revenue grew across the region from 2020 to 2021.
Why it matters
- The metro communities around Sioux Falls (not including Sioux Falls city limits) saw a total sales tax increase of more than 16 percent between 2020 and 2021.
- That means a total of more than $18.5 million in revenue for those communities, and seven individual towns saw more than $1 million in sales tax revenue.
- That gives local governments more money to work with when it comes to addressing community needs from infrastructure to parks to future planning.
"These numbers show the impact of more people coming to live, work and visit metro-area communities," said Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. "It's one more indicator of the strong growth and economic position of the region."
Let's look at individual communities
Super simplified stories
- City to rework bus system. The city is looking at a way to improve bus services with a mix of fixed and on-demand routes, Mayor Paul TenHaken told press Tuesday. The city's collected a lot of data, and in the coming months it'll develop a more comprehensive plan for the future of Sioux Area Metro.
- School District looks to expand dropout prevention program. Sioux Falls School Board members last week learned more about a pilot program for Jobs for Americas Graduates (JAG), a program to help connect kids with career opportunities and keep them in school. It's been a pilot with a dozen kids at Roosevelt High, and next year the goal is to expand to all four high schools.
The pandemic and mental health: How to recognize the need and find help
Simplified: We're not out of the woods yet, doctors say. But as pandemic starts to calm – and make its slow transition to an endemic – Sanford and Avera health officials Tuesday advised people to take stock of what the last two years have done to their mental health.
Why it matters
- Mental health is a topic we're not talking enough about during the pandemic, said Dr. David Basel, vice president of clinical quality with Avera Medical Group, and the impact of the pandemic is "significant."
- That's showing up in the calls received at the Helpline Center, too. Vice President of Program Development Betsy Schuster said the center has not only seen more calls, but the calls they've seen have been more complicated.
- People are trying to handle the pandemic and all of its impacts from financial issues to lost loved ones to fear about the future, Schuster added.
- Avera has seen an increase in mental health needs, and the system is building an addition to its Behavioral Health hospital to help meet that need.
"We'll probably fill that the day it opens," Basel said.
How to recognize when it's time to ask for help
And where to find it. More here.
THIS AND THAT
Stuff to do (Valentine's Day edition):
- Get the gals together. There are a number of "Galentine's" events, from mimosas and make-and-takes to boutique deals.
- Get a nice dinner. Restaurants across town have Valentine's deals for couples, including some fancy, multi-course meals. The Argus Leader has a roundup of local deals.
- Treat your pet. Pet Supplies Plus is hosting a Valentine's Day photo shoot for pets. You can also show animals and humans some love by sending a valentine from a shelter pet.
- Treat yourself. Hit the spa for a facial or just cuddle up on a blind date with a book.
- Skip the lovey dovey stuff. If you're looking to avoid the couples, Average Joe's Gaming and Hobby store in Tea is having a "I hate Valentine's Day" party with games and food available for purchase.
What I'm falling for this week:
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