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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: South Dakota

Sioux Falls
Project Connects Jobs With Open Space
Frawley Ranch
City Ignores Voters to Annex Land

Sioux Falls
Project Connects Jobs With Open Space

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 path.

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.

Frawley Ranch
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 north.

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.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments

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