Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Look, I know my lawn needs to be mowed. If it ever stops raining for more than 10 minutes, I'll get to it. But it won't be this week...

Why we're celebrating: It's Juneteenth! Or, as the National Museum of African American History and Culture puts it – it's the nation's second independence day. Learn more about the history of this holiday here.

Also worth celebrating: We've officially surpassed $1,250 in donations for Journey of Hope as part of the inaugural A Little Help campaign. That's one-quarter of the way to our goal of $5,000!!
  • Worth noting, though, that we're already pretty far into the month, so it'll take a little extra push to meet that goal by June 30. I'm not worried, though. I just assume everyone, like me, is a procrastinator. πŸ˜‰ When you're ready to sneak in that last-minute donation, you can do so right here (just be sure to mention Sioux Falls Simplified in the notes section so they know we sent ya!):

This week, I'll let you in on some of the behind-the-scenes conversation City Councilors are having about how much folks should have to pay to use proposed indoor recreation centers/pools. You'll also learn about a new plan to slow down traffic downtown. Plus catch our weekly roundup of events.

And now, news:


What should it cost to use public pools?

Simplified: The cost to use proposed new indoor pools and recreation centers is too high, several City Councilors told Sioux Falls Simplified this week after a council work session showed family passes could cost as much as $850 per year. Here's what it means for ongoing aquatics bond discussions.

white and multicolored beach ball
Photo by RaphaΓ«l Biscaldi / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The City of Sioux Falls has been working on plans to replace aging pool facilities at Kuehn and Frank Olson Parks for the past few years. Those conversations led to a broader discussion about the need for public indoor recreation space, ultimately resulting in plans for a new, $47 million facility at Frank Olson.
    • Meanwhile, the city has also agreed to purchase the Sanford Wellness Center at Tea/Ellis Road for $9 million.
  • Those plans have yet to win approval from the City Council, though, largely because councilors aren't yet satisfied with the financial model behind the proposal.
  • Councilor David Barranco said he'd like to see an annual pass cost no more than $400 for a family, with the hope that a more affordable price point will mean more people use the new facilities.
"I would rather have full facilities – even if we lose (more money) – than a sterile, empty facility with five rich guys in there," Barranco said.

What other factors are at play here?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Local students celebrate 'Make Music Day.' The Sioux Falls School District summer youth band program will premiere a piece at their first concert on June 20th as part of National Make Music Day. The band is made up of sixth through 12th graders, and the performance is free and open to the public. It'll take place 7 p.m. Thursday at the Edison Middle School track.
    • The performance will end with the new piece, "Earthgroove," which will be played across the nation at around the same time by other bands as part of Make Music Day.


These new downtown features aim to make pedestrians safer

Simplified: The city's active transit board this week approved plans to test out several "bump outs" in downtown as a way to calm traffic and keep pedestrians safe. Here's what you need to know.

person in black pants and white sneakers standing on pedestrian lane
Photo by Ivan Lenin / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • A bump out is a traffic calming measure that essentially shortens the distance a person has to walk in crossing the street by narrowing the traffic lane and forcing cars to slow down, Senior Planner Fletcher Lacock said.
  • The pilot project – funded in part by a grant Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. received – will bring more than three dozen bump outs to areas along Eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th Streets, as well as First and Second Avenues, according to a map presented to the active transit board this week.
  • The city will measure if the pilot is successful by studying vehicle speeds both before and after the bump outs are installed, Lacock said.
"This is part of a larger plan to enhance walkability downtown," said Joe Batcheller, president of DTSF, Inc. "The intent is to see if it can have a reduction on engine noise, traffic speeds and that sort of thing so people feel safer when they're crossing the streets."

Tell me more


Stuff to do: June 19-25

  • Celebrate pollinators. It's World Pollinator Week, and the Great Plains Zoo is celebrating all week long leading up to the main event: Flutterfest on Saturday. The event runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes take-home pollinator seed packets, live butterflies, pollinator games and pollinator bingo. More details here.
  • Rock the block. Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Sioux Empire is helping spruce up homes in the Whittier neighborhood this week with plans to complete at least 18 home repair projects with more than 200 volunteers. Then, everyone is getting together Saturday for a block party with food trucks, inflatables and more. Details here.
  • Buy some books. Reach Literacy has thousands of books that'll be for sale for only 99 cents Friday and Saturday. Stock up on all types of novels while supporting a cool nonprofit in the meantime. It's worth noting children's literature is not included in the sale.
  • Relive the aughts. The Spill Canvas is having its 20th anniversary tour at Icon Wednesday night. Doors open at 7 p.m. to catch the Sioux Falls alt rock band. Tickets to the all-ages show are $25, and you can find them here.
  • Go for a 'run.' South Dakota's laziest race, the Compass Center 0.5K is scheduled for Saturday starting at 10 a.m. It's one-third of a mile, and you can do it at any pace. The goal is to raise money for the Compass Center, a group that supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Learn more and register here.
  • Experience Kunama culture. The Levitt is hosting a Kunama Cultural Festival on Saturday evening in partnership with Kobabala Farda Kunamasi. See a drumming and dance celebration, a fashion show and a performance from Eritrean composer Faytinga. It all kicks off at 6 p.m. at Levitt at the Falls.


What I'm falling for this week


More Simplified Stories

This new partnership will help connect more kids to hygiene products
Journey of Hope will connect hundreds of Sioux Falls kids from low-income families with free and accessible hygiene products.
Council divided on how much to charge to visit new indoor pools
A family pass to the city’s new indoor pools and recreation centers could cost as much as $88 per month, depending on how much City Council is willing to subsidize the new facilities.
Splash pads, butterflies and teddy bear clinics: How to find fun at the zoo in June
The new splash pad is now open, the lion exhibit is almost ready to open, and there’s a range of events throughout the month of June sure to entertain all ages.


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Thank you

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