While the inner city deteriorates, we build, out, out, out!


I won’t go into any specifics, but I did get a good belly role from this statement;

Schmitt acknowledges there are dangers with spreading out, but the city stops short of saying it will create hard boundaries to limit Sioux Falls’ footprint. Cities such as Boulder, Colo., and Portland, Ore., have done that.

“They’ve said, ‘This is it, this is as big as we’re going to be, and you have to stay within these boundaries,’ and both of them have preservation areas outside there where you can’t just go outside the area and start building,” Schmitt said.

He doesn’t see that happening here.

“I’ve spoken at three or four national conventions on how Sioux Falls does it, and people go, ‘You have got to be kidding me, so you’re not Boulder, but you’re not Vegas, either?’ ” Schmitt said. “That’s why we’re good. We’re not great, not bad, but we’re able to put a sewer pipe in, and say, if you want to grow, you have to go where we’re telling you, when we’re telling you.”

Unless you of course are Walmart or the Lloyd companies, because we will follow you to the ends of the freaking earth to give you what you want.


#1 anonymous2 on 01.12.14 at 6:38 pm

Last paragraph: exactly.

#2 CCFlyer on 01.12.14 at 11:15 pm

Disgusted by the mentality of our city officials and planners. Didn’t we learn growing out, not up, was inefficient back in the 1970’s and 1980’s?

#3 Craig on 01.13.14 at 8:55 am

Actually most of the growth in Sioux Falls comes in the form of housing development. There is all of this complaint about Walmart, but look to the East of the proposed location and what do you see behind Soo Sports… residential housing. Look to the Southeast and what do you see – an area being developed for more residential housing (and some retail/commericial up front). Look further to the West by Western Ave and what do you see? Residential housing. Look what borders the area to the North (the current edge prior to farmland) – residential housing.

Now look to the West side of Sioux Falls and what developments are the furthest out? Again – residential development. Same is true on the East side. Sure you have Dawley Farm and all of the retail in that area, but even further East at numerous points up and down that highway you have several new residential developments, with several more East of Six Mile Road.

The only direction that Sioux Falls has really grown that isn’t led by residential is the NorthWest corner. That area began as commercial about a decade ago with several smaller companies. The state shop went in there, as did the payment processing company. Then you had University Center, and soon you will have a Walmart.

So if you don’t want the city to expand what you are really saying is you don’t want any more residential development – because residential has always been the driving force behind the expansion of Sioux Falls.

One other point to consider is if Sioux Falls refuses to allow the city to grow, you will simply have Hartford, Harrisburg, Tea, and Brandon growing towards Sioux Falls. What purpose would that serve – eventually all of these towns will probably be connected and there will be infrastructure under all of it.

If you desire to live in an area that isn’t growing and has no need to add new infrastructure – there are about 480 small towns in South Dakota that would be able to offer exactly that. Just make sure they aren’t within 30 miles of Sioux Falls.

However, if instead of knee-jerk reactions you actually care less about when or where Sioux Falls grows, but rather HOW they grow, then you have some room for discussion. I’m sure Tom will be by shortly with a few links to various Strong Town concepts, so perhaps you can start there.

#4 rufusx on 01.13.14 at 11:42 am

In addition, the areas to the South and East – as far as Lake Alvin DO in fact have the main sewer lines in place – have been there for several years now – FAR IN ADVANCE of any development. Why? Because putting the major infrastructure in place there was cheaper and easier to going in some other direction – REGARDLESS of what any “developer” mighty want/what land they might have speculated on. The city HAS – IN FACT – done precisely what Mr. Schmitt has said in re: to directing WHERE and WHENN developers might develop..

#5 Tom H. on 01.13.14 at 12:12 pm

* Step 1: Build new infrastructure on the edge of town.
* Step 2: Pay for new infrastructure with new tax revenue from shiny new developments on the edge of town.
* Step 3: When the shiny new development gets old and needs maintenance, pay for it by getting newer shiny development (see Step 1).

Like any Ponzi scheme, it keeps working until the capital dries up. When the suburban growth dries up, only those neighborhoods that are productive enough to pay for their own expenses will survive.

Which do you think will pay for itself better: traditional neighborhoods, with 5 units per acre, narrow streets, and walkable destinations, or the suburban tract development with half the density, highway-sized arterial roads, and a landscape only navigable by automobile?

Basically, we can either limit our sprawl now and prepare for a more financially constrained future, or reality will (probably painfully) correct our mistakes for us.

#6 Tom H. on 01.13.14 at 12:14 pm

P.S.: Sorry, no StrongTowns links, Craig. Glad to see I’ve put the website into the Sioux Falls blogosphere’s consciousness, though.

#7 guest on 01.13.14 at 2:56 pm

quote rufusx: “In addition, the areas to the South and East – as far as Lake Alvin DO in fact have the main sewer lines in place – have been there for several years now”

I live just north of 271st/HWY 106 just east of HWY 11 and have a septic tank, we are not on a main sewer line and neither are any of my neighbors. same goes for natural gas, we are on propane. Also on the Lincoln county rural water etc.

Lake Alvin is just over 2 miles SE of my home.

#8 Testor15 on 01.14.14 at 9:41 am

The city of Sioux Falls planned to have the Dawley Farms east to the Sioux River extension put in through established developments, to be paid for by those developments, without their ability to hook up to them.

I have friends who live out there who were told by the city you are to pay for the privilege of having your property torn up AND you will not gain any benefit from it.

#9 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 9:56 am

guest – I’m well aware that the premature rural residential development that has occurred in that area isn’t connected to central sewer services – YET. That doesn’t mean the trunk lines aren’t there. It means you’re not connected yet.

The entire area drains to a collection point near the Sioux River and there is a 54″ force that goes uphill toward the treatment plant. This was installed several years ago. How do I know this? It just happens to run through my brother-in-law’s back yard in Pine Lake Hills as it heads north. There’s a map of all this somewhere on the Works web site. I’ll leave it to you to search it out.

#10 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 10:00 am

Stupid auto correct – “force main” and “Public Works”.

BTW – WHERE do you imagine all of the sanitary sewer from the developments East of SD 11 and South of 26th is draining to? Hint crap don’t run uphill to the north. Figure it out. Follow the slopes of the land.

#11 LJL on 01.14.14 at 10:46 am

You’ve givien us another shining example of what little you know and how much you make up.

Their called sewer lift stations. And crap does run uphill, when it’s pumped. Figure it out.

#12 guest on 01.14.14 at 11:42 am

ruf, sorry your not even in the ball park, Pine Lake Hills is about 7-8 miles North from Lake Alvin try again

if the trunk lines were out this far by 271st/hwy 106, they wouldn’t hesitate to stick it to all the people that live in twin creek and all the other developments between there and all the homes around spring creek golf course

#13 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 11:58 am

guest – I know that . Read again what I said. The 54′ FORCE MAIN (sewage being pumped up hill – under pressure) runs through Pine Lake Hills. The beginning of that FORCE MAIN – the LOWER END where the PUMPS are – is at the BOTTOM end of the system – 5 MILES south of there – at the river. The whole of several square miles of gravity mains – from 26th street SOUTH, from Minnesota Avenue EAST – feeds into that collection PUMPING station.

Again – LOOK AT THE LAY OF THE LAND. Shit don’t run up hill.

#14 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:03 pm

LJL – shpows hpow little YOU know. Lift stations are just bthat – they simply lift the sewage up a few feet so that it can again run down hill. This isn NOT a “lift station” where sewage coms in, is elevated a few feet and then runs down hill by gravity again – OUT OF THE SAME VAULT. It is a FORCE PUMPING FACILITY. The sewage is pumped for MILES uphill – through a SINGLE 54″ pipe – UNDER PRESSURE.

#15 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:07 pm

BTW LJL – back in the early 1980’s – you know when you were still trying to figire out which way was up -= I was a SD state licensed sewer and water installer. That means I built sewage collection systems, water distribution systems, septic systems, and storm drainage systems. You’d be surprised to know how much of the “under-the-streets” parts of SF’s infrastructure I’ve had a hand in constructing.

#16 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:11 pm

Here’s a link to a map that shows some of the development of the East Side collection system – as of 2006 (8 years ag0). Please note the grey shaded “future expansion” area in the SE.


#17 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:12 pm

Excuse me – that was from 2005 – 9 years ago.

#18 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:15 pm

If you want to dig a little further you can find what’s been done since then to the South and East.

#19 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:16 pm

AND what future plans have already been developed – including a “regional treatment plant” that will service even more ground to the South, as well as Harrisburg and Tea.

#20 rufusx on 01.14.14 at 12:19 pm

In addition – just FYI – the plans have been finalized and are ready for bidding to extend 57th street across the River into Iowa – bridge, 4 lanes all the way to the frikkin’ Casino, the whole works. East side is gonna make the old 20th century West side “boom” look like a lady finger.

#21 Tom H. on 01.14.14 at 12:31 pm

Unless, of course, the development doesn’t come. What would happen to City finances if the East Side just didn’t develop to the level they expect? Is there any back up plan?

Take a minute and think about how utterly dependent Sioux Falls is on the indefinite continuation suburban sprawl development. There is no Plan B.

#22 Craig on 01.14.14 at 4:51 pm

Not sure Tom…. seems the city does pretty well on sales tax revenue, and that isn’t about to drop off just because growth slows. Being the economic hub of the 150mile radius has its advantages, and all of those Minnesota and Iowa license plates we see on 41st street every weekend do a great job in keeping the city coffers full, and the residents of Harrisburg, Tea, Brandon, Hardford, Dell Rapids, Crooks, and hell even Beresford, and Lennox do a mighty fine job of spending their cash here rather than at home.

I dare say Sioux Falls could see growth drop by 80% and they would survive just fine. As with all cities, real trouble doesn’t come into play until people start leaving, and for all the doom and gloom some like to spout on this particular blog… that isn’t about to happen in the next 50 years.

#23 Tom H. on 01.14.14 at 5:34 pm

I’m not so sure I agree with that… in the event that suburban housing growth fell so precipitously, you could bet that it would have had something to do with gasoline prices. In that event, I wouldn’t expect 100-mile trips from northwest Iowa to the Empire Mall to be quite as numerous as they are today.

It’s also pretty ambitious to project out 50 years and say with certainty that Sioux Falls’ population will do this or that. Would you trust 1964 projections about anything for 2014?

#24 Ol'Bubbleguts on 01.15.14 at 8:40 am

I used to deliver blueprints and specs.to construction companies.I can forsee how these developers think.

The next phase is
SF council rulers intend to turn arrowhead parkway (10th St.) from Sycamore to that dumb Iowa casino
into Louise avenue east.

The lands are already in the process of being snatched up by the well heeled and connected.

Hoity toity Rowena here we come.


#25 Craig on 01.15.14 at 9:27 am

Tom – we need only look to 2008 to see what happens when economic conditions result in slower than average growth. Sioux Falls did just fine, and there is no reason to suspect they couldn’t survive another period of stunted growth.

Sioux Falls grows organically – so if growth slowed you would see then plans adjust. There is no reason to believe the city cannot fully fund its current obligations if growth dries up… I really don’t even know where that mentality comes from. Yes they would need to cease looking for new and inventive ways to spend money or sell more bonds for shiny projects, but those adjustments can be made in line with growth projections.

As to my projections, I don’t think it is ambitious to predict that Sioux Falls won’t shrink in the next 50 years. Experts can argue about the rate of growth and whether that is 1% or 10% a year – that isn’t my point, but for the city to actually start pulling a Detroit and losing thousands of residents? That would take a major event, and since the city is not entirely built upon any one industry, is financially stable, is well managed in comparison to many peers, is currently experiencing massive growth and a building boom, and has no direct economic competition within at least 150 miles… I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume the city will maintain and/or grow for decades to come.

Granted the law of diminished returns comes into play eventually, and anyone who feels our current rate of growth will be sustainable is probably naive, but compare the population today to the population in the year 2064 and I have no doubt you will see a significantly larger number in the future.

#26 rufusx on 01.15.14 at 1:56 pm

Tom – if those NW Iowegians don’t make the 100 mile road trip to SF a couple times a month – were are they gonna go instead? 300 mile road trips to Minneapolis, Des Moines, Omaha instead?

#27 Tom H. on 01.15.14 at 2:24 pm

Maybe, in a world of fossil fuel scarcity and limited long-distance transportation options, local economies and functional main streets may start to regain their former significance. There’s no reason a pair of jeans and a new wheelbarrow should require a day-trip to the big city.

#28 Tom H. on 01.15.14 at 9:16 pm

Just remember – everything stays the same, until it doesn’t.

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