Happy Thursday! Megan here.

Status check: I hope you all had a lovely Independence Day, and that those of you with young kids/scared pets are able to catch up on sleep in the very near future.

Weather check: Perfection! We had July in June, and now we're getting a taste of June in July.

This week, it's a lot of money talk for a holiday week, so bear with me! I'll break down the highlights of Mayor Paul TenHaken's $1.1 billion five-year capital plan. I've also got a look at a new project to conserve water in Brandon, and you'll find a number of Super Simplified Stories – including an update on the Downtown 2035 plan – as well as a roundup of local events.

And now, news:


Sioux Falls' long-term spending plan has more than doubled in a decade

Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken late last week released a plan to spend more than $1.1 billion on city capital improvement projects over the next five years. It's the highest capital budget in city history, and the price tag is more than double the plan presented to City Council a decade prior.

Why it matters

  • It's not uncommon for the city's long-term spending plan to get bigger and more expensive every year. Sioux Falls is growing, and – with the exception of the plan presented in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic – the capital plan has increased every year going back more than a decade.
  • This is the first time in city history the plan has surpassed $1 billion, though it got close last year with a $930 million plan. Compare that to then-Mayor Mike Huether's $492 million plan back in 2014.
  • The proposed spending is backed up by a projected $1.1 billion in funding sources including sales tax, user fees, state and federal funds, and private donations.
  • The largest chunk of the plan – about $458 million – will fund infrastructure and road improvements. Another $89 million is slated for culture and recreation, including replacing three Sioux Falls pools.
“Growth brings additional demand for public investment," TenHaken said in a statement. "This program balances current and future needs, remains committed to investing in critical infrastructure, while also funding projects that make our city a great place to live, work, visit, and play.”

Tell me more

Get a look at specific items included in the capital plan, plus a list of random budget items I thought were interesting.


How Barre3 brought balanced wellness to Sioux Falls

This is a paid piece from Barre3 Sioux Falls.

Simplified: Barre3 Sioux Falls is celebrating its seventh birthday this month. Here's a look at how this boutique fitness studio built a local wellness community.

Why it matters

  • The mission of Barre3 is to teach people to be balanced in body and empowered from within. The goal is to give people ways to move that honor where their body is at any given moment.
  • Workouts are constantly evolving, co-owner Amanda Roder said, so even people who have been coming to class for seven years now are still finding new ways to move and strengthen their bodies.
  • The real staying power of Barre3, though, is the strong community. Members come back time and again because they feel supported and valued, Roder said. And even if they've been gone for months or years, walking back into the studio is like "a warm hug."
"Whether you're brand new or you've been coming for years, you feel that love and support when you walk through the door," Roder said.

Tell me more about the workouts

And how can I join the Barre3 community?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Coming soon: Downtown 2035. The city on Tuesday will release its plan for developing downtown Sioux Falls over the next decade, Urban Planner Adam Roach told the planning commission this week. About half of the 210-page plan will include a market analysis for downtown, and Roach said this plan will be more specific than the previous 10-year plan for downtown.
  • Firework fines. Sioux Falls police received 326 fireworks-related calls since the start of the month, and they've issued five citations as of Wednesday morning, according to Lt. Andrew Siebenborn. That's about one citation for every 65 calls.
  • Council approves liquor license change. The city will now award new liquor licenses through a sealed bid system after a council vote Wednesday evening. A couple of amendments passed – one to increase transparency and another to ensure proceeds from the sales go to "community betterment initiatives."


This pilot program is helping Brandon save water

Simplified: The City of Brandon is testing out a special type of landscaping designed to save water. Here's what you need to know about "xeriscaping."

Photo by Hamed Taha / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that requires little to no irrigation because it uses plants that thrive in an area's natural ecosystem. That's especially helpful in Brandon, which has sandy soil that requires a lot of irrigation to keep turf grass looking nice, City Engingeer Tami Jansma said.
  • The City of Brandon, at the advice of the local water conservation committee, is testing out xeriscaping along Holly Boulevard this summer to see if it's something that could be more widely used in the future.
  • Both Oakridge Nursery and Impact Landscaping Design worked to xeriscape different sections of Holly Boulevard as part of this $80,000 pilot program. They're using things like no-mow grass, native plants and crab trees.
"We're just replacing that turf grass and putting in some native plants that still look nice and don't require irrigation," Jansma said. "They don't need harsh chemicals or fertilizers either."

What happens next?

More details here.


Stuff to do: July 6-13

  • Party downtown. It's the first Friday of the month, and that means there's a party downtown. Check out the Eastbank Block Party starting at 5:30 p.m. at 8th and Railroad. There will be food, drinks and music. Details here.
  • See Shakespeare in the park. The Bare Bodkins production of "Romeo & Juliet" runs Thursday through Sunday. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and see the bard's classic in a fun, free, outdoor format. Details here.
  • Celebrate Native American culture. The SDSU Wokini Intiative is teaming up with Levitt at the Falls to bring the Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ All My Relatives festival to town Friday and Saturday. There'll be a panel discussion, a fashion show, activities for kids and lots of live music. Get the details here.
  • Catch some cool cars. Hot Summer Nites 2023 kicks off at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the fairgrounds. See hundreds of corvettes, have some beers, find food trucks and more. Details here.
  • Birds, beers, baseball. It's "Beerfest Night" at the Birdcage on Saturday. See the Sioux Falls Canaries play the Chicago Dogs, and come early to try samples from local breweries. Tickets available here.
  • Get some garden envy. Explore eight Sioux Falls gardens at the Minnehaha Master Gardeners 2023 Garden Tours. It's a self-guided tour running from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets available here.
  • Paddle like a pro. Learn the basics of canoeing and kayaking at the Outdoor Campus. The open-house style event runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. More details here.


What I'm falling for this week:


More recent stories

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It costs more in one year to send your kid to a childcare center in Sioux Falls than it would to send them to a South Dakota state university.
Get smart about helping unhoused people with Rep. Kadyn Wittman
Kadyn Wittman is a Democratic state lawmaker representing District 15 in Sioux Falls. We caught up with her about what she learned and what she’s bringing back to South Dakota.
How public-private partnerships are transforming a Brandon park
Public-private partnerships are bringing big changes and big developments to Brandon’s Aspen Park.

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