Vacant industrial land has cut off downtown Sioux Falls from the natural
beauty of its namesake, Falls Park. But the city is trying to link these two areas
together through smart growth.
These abandoned parcels, also known as brownfields, used to house a variety of
industries including a brickyard and a scrap-salvage operation. But if the city of Sioux
Falls has its way, the land will be turned into a mixture of private redevelopment and
public park land that will include an extension of the 14-mile River Greenway recreational
The first crucial step in the rehabilitation is to carefully clean up the area which,
after years of industrial use, is heavily contaminated. Once the contamination problems
have been solved, about three blocks worth of commercial development space will be
available, adding tremendously to the employment opportunities of downtown Sioux Falls.
In addition to cleaning up existing environmental damage, the city is hoping to build a
public park and extend existing trails to better connect Falls Park with the newly
redeveloped area. The plans also call for using a portion of the new space to extend the
park further into the downtown area.
Falls Park, with its new river walk, picnic areas and rehabilitated historic buildings,
has become a beautiful haven for downtown. It's time the areas surrounding the park were
brought up to par.
(Deadwood) City Ignores Voters to Annex Land
In a shocking affront to the democratic process, the city of Deadwood is
seeking to annex a portion of the former Frawley Ranch in Lawrence County to build more
sprawling development -- even though residents voted down the proposal in early 2000.
At issue is a 6,255-acre resort development that would take more than 10 years to
complete. Proposed for the development are hotels, a golf course, industrial and business
parks and residential housing.
The site is located next to Highway 85 just north of the city of Deadwood. Residents of
the county voted down the proposal for a number of important reasons. Clearly, the glitzy,
resort-like nature of the development would detract from the ranch's historic roots.
One-room schoolhouses, historic dairy facilities and barns are a bit at odds with a brand
new golf course. Also, ranchers, who have seen development eat up plenty of prime farm
land, are concerned that the Frawley Ranch project will threaten neighboring ranch
property, especially given the likely influx of cars and roads to the area to meet the
needs of future residents.
The economic costs to the community are likely to be high as well, since the proposed
development is three times the current size of Deadwood. Developers claim the project will
help attract people to Deadwood, which is four miles down the road. But it is far more
likely that business in the existing town will be decimated by the new development to the
Residents of Lawrence County have spoken. They recognize that the project will harm the
economic and environmental vitality of the region, as well as their quality of life. Local
officials should listen to the voters.