Director of City Planning, Mike Cooper at Democratic Forum, 6/26/15


Image: Sioux Falls Rotary Club

Mike started out his presentation with talking about all the major development and big building permits handed out this year in Sioux Falls. He mentioned that the Southside Walmart is ‘permitted’. I found it to be interesting he would say that since they are still in ‘litigation’ over the conditional use permit. So when the Q & A started I asked him about the WM ‘permit’ in reference to the trial/hearings. He seemed to defend that the permits that have already been given are legal and binding. (He worded it a different way, but you get the gist).

I also asked him about how the property taxes would work at the Banks project being proposed Downtown. He said the proposed $12 million from the city to build the parking ramp would be coming from the parking fees and reserves (which is understandable) but then he said that they have not worked out the details of how the property taxes would work with a mixed public/private partnership with the building (which tells me they developers will probably be asking for a TIF).

Another audience member asked about what was going on with the 26th and Southeastern project (viaduct over the tracks). He paused before answering the question and said that it is on ‘Hold’ for more ‘Studies’. Which surprised me, because I remember Shannon Austin from the planning/street department talk about the project on ‘City Scene’ that it was full steam ahead. Seems the mayor may have been shifting money around again on the streets. Cooper said it would be a multi-million dollar project.

Mike also said that the city planning office was working with the Sweetman Family to develop a large partial of land east of 229 on Benson Road.

Paratransit and public transportation were brought up towards the end of the Q & A. Melanie Bliss, a long-time advocate for the poor and disadvantaged stood up and chided Cooper about the city cutting paratransit. Also a long time rider of paratransit (25 years) complained about the rate increase.

It was probably smart of Cooper to say nothing in response since we all know who proposed these changes and it wasn’t this ‘Mike’.



#1 The Daily Spin on 06.26.15 at 4:44 pm

It’s hard to balance the wishes of city political types and citizen expectations. Because of the present climate created by this lavish mayor, he’s one step forward but two steps back. I’d have given up but he keeps his posture. His level is well represented. It’s strong mayor that’s forced directors to stretch the truth and often bite their tongue.

#2 anonymous on 06.26.15 at 8:54 pm

When you refer to 26th and Sycamore, do you actually mean the I 229 Exit 5 Project (26th Street from Fredrick Drive up the hill to the street just east of McDonald’s)?

If so, I am very surprised Mike hedged on this. Many of us who live in the area have been attending all of the meetings related to this project for the past SEVERAL YEARS.

The final environmental assessment is completed, preliminary work in the surrounding area has begun and the actual project is set to go in the 2018-19 timeframe.

#3 come on on 06.27.15 at 2:18 pm

I agree with anonymous…I think the 26th and Southeastern project is in the CIP for 2018 or so…unless MMM is pilfering the CIP again to pay for his pool instead of streets like he did for the EC

#4 Enough of shape places and mmm legacy on 06.29.15 at 6:07 pm

He and Jeffry Schmitt want those big pay checks mmm has handed out to other city leaders that do as he commands unlike the librarian who got fired for the vacuum job Maybe the ethics board with an ex councilor Sue Agular will have a little something extra in an envelope to toss the twin Eagles neighborhood under the bridge again when mmm asks. Did I pressure you. Twist your arm for yes for south Walmart Yes I did I’ll put you on my ethics board and keep me out of jail Sue. Lol. What an a clown