Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Don't plant your garden just yet – freezes on the way.

This weekend, I'll share Mayor Paul TenHaken's annual highlight reel in the State of the City address, as well as details of a proposed $77 million aquatics bond. Plus, you'll learn how the city team was able to respond quickly to the 9-1-1 outage Wednesday night. I've also got some Super Simplified Stories and a quick round-up of local sustainability nonprofits to follow in honor of Earth Day early next week.

And now, news:


What's in the city's proposed $77M aquatics bond?

Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken this week unveiled initial details for a planned $77 million bond to fund a new pool at Kuehn Park, and indoor pool and recreation center at Frank Olson and the purchase of the Sanford Wellness Center on Tea/Ellis Road.

Why it matters

  • The city has been talking for the last several years about replacing the aging pools at Kuehn Park and Frank Olson Park, as well as the wading pool at McKennan Park. The parks department has held over 20 community meetings and sought feedback via online surveys in the last couple of years in preparation.
  • Fairly early on in the community discussions, conversations shifted from outdoor pools to indoor recreation centers – discussions bolstered by increasing demand at the city's existing indoor pools at the Midco Aquatic Center.
  • The mayor again emphasized the need for more indoor recreation this week when he announced that the city plans to purchase the west-side Sanford Wellness Center for $9 million.
"We feel strongly this is a great opportunity for Sanford Health, the city and the communities we both serve," said Steve Young, president of Sanford Sports. "Our common goal is to keep the communities we serve healthy and thriving."

Tell me more about what's in the bond


Here's what we learned during the annual State of the City address

Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken on Thursday delivered the annual State of the City address to scores of Sioux Fallsians at the Convention Center. He covered a wide variety of topics – here's a quick run-down of some of the newsiest tidbits.

Why it matters

  • TenHaken is now halfway through his second term as mayor, so, frankly, this isn't his first rodeo. His addresses in previous years have focused on managing growth, city values, and a pivot from an infrastructure-focused first term to a second term emphasizing quality of life investments.
  • This year's address focused on how Sioux Falls has historically made big investments and where those investments are today. That includes recognizing the 25th anniversary of the Washington Pavilion and the 10th anniversary of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.
"We are in the midst of incredible investments," TenHaken said.

Here's a "super simplified" look at things we learned


How Sioux Falls quick response to the 911 outage helped the whole state

Simplified: The team at Metro Communications and the broader city communications team didn't miss a beat on Wednesday night when they realized the system that accepts 911 calls wasn't working. Here's a look at how their quick response set the tone for the entire state.

person holding black smartphone
Photo by Jae Park / Unsplash

What happened?

At about 8 p.m. Wednesday night, Metro's team confirmed a 911 outage. They were able to notice it right away because of more sophisticated analytics in their new facility, Director Mike Gramlick said.

The dispatchers were unable to accept calls made directly to 911, but they could still receive calls made to the non-emergency number: 605-367-7000.

  • Immediately, the city's communication team drafted and sent a press release that was then used as a template statewide, according to Gramlick.
  • Shortly after, Emergency Manager Regan Smith said the city also sent out a wireless emergency alert.

By 10:38 p.m., everything was up and running again.

What went wrong?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Absentee voting starts Tuesday. We're not done yet with city elections. At-Large City Council candidates Jordan Deffenbaugh and Richard Thomason will be on the ballot for a runoff election on Tuesday, April 30. Or, you can go ahead and vote early at the Minnehaha County admin building starting Tuesday, April 23. Want to meet the candidates? Want to actually turn out to vote this time? Here's your survival guide.
  • Bishop Dudley House announces expansion plan. More families will be able to find shelter through the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House with the opening of a new shelter in the former Children's Inn location in partnership with the Interlakes Community Action Partnerships. The Bishop Dudley can currently house six families, and now it'll have space for 10. Alongside the expansion is a fundraising campaign with a goal to raise $3.5 million.
  • TV writer coming to school. Eric Kaplan, who has written for shows including "Futurama," "Flight of the Conchords," "Malcolm in the Middle" and more, will give a philosophy lecture at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at Augustana University's Froiland Science Complex. His talk, "11 Questions About Questions: Regarding a Parable by Raymond Smullyan,” is free and open to the public.
  • Author coming to (a different) school. Sioux Falls Lutheran School will host Jerry Pallotta – author of the "Who Would Win" book series – on May 13. He'll give talks to all age groups of students throughout the day.
  • Cool new public art. The Washington Pavilion on Thursday announced plans for a new, privately funded, permanent outdoor art installation in honor of the facility's 25th anniversary. The piece, "CYCLICALITY" was designed by New York artist Jen Lewin, and it's made to be responsive to movement. It'll have 13 interactive Dichroic infinity mirrored prisms ranging from 13 to 21 feet tall – they'll reflect sunlight during the day and light up at night with colors that transform as folks move around it. Here's what it'll look like:


It's almost Earth Day! Here are some groups keeping Sioux Falls sustainable

Simplified: It's almost Earth Day! The past two years, I've written a series of stories about sustainability efforts during the month of April – but this year's City Council election took a little too much bandwidth to make it all happen.

green plant
Photo by Noah Buscher / Unsplash

That said, I still wanted to share some of these awesome past stories in case you missed them. Here's a little roundup in the spirit of Earth Day:


More Simplified Stories

Stuff to do: April 17-23
There’s a lot to celebrate this week in Sioux Falls--here’s a look at what’s going on.
How your apartment search can score you tickets to Pink
Lloyd Companies is hosting a Parade of Apartments on Saturday, April 27, and they’re offering chances to win hundreds of dollars in prizes – as well as a pair of tickets to see Pink.
Did your neighbors turn out to vote?
Sioux Falls Simplified analyzed precinct-level voter turnout data to see which neighborhoods saw the most – and least – folks going out to vote.


What I'm falling for this weekend:


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Reach out

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Thank you

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