UPDATE: Is TenHaken’s idea of Neighborhood Revitalization a Bulldozer?

UPDATE: I got an update last night. I guess the administration has been pushing hard on property owners along the loop on 11th street to buy the property so they can ‘revitalize’ it. Many property owners are thumbing the mayor and not agreeing to the offers.

A SouthDacola foot soldier reached out to me last night and confirmed something I have speculated about for a while. The city does have a plan to clean up the core and it probably involves a bulldozer and a wrecking ball;

One of those is neighborhood revitalization, and TenHaken today announced a new organizational structure to address it.


The newly created division will combine the city’s code enforcement arms under one entity that reports up through planning and development services. The team, led by Matt Tobias, will address “how do we take care of our core and make neighborhoods cleaner and acquire properties,” TenHaken said.


The bigger vision is to assemble and invest in land and amenities such as parks to create neighborhoods in the center of the city that appeal to residents and businesses, “so people aren’t looking to the ‘burbs but look inward,” he continued. “Some of the best neighborhoods are in the core.”


Notice the 2 words, ‘acquire properties’. This is essentially code for tearing down affordable housing that can be easily renovated in our core to tear it down instead and turn it into apartments or subsidized houses that don’t fit in the older neighborhoods. There is NO reason that these houses can’t be fixed up for a fraction of the cost and make excellent first time houses or retirement homes, but developers need to make a buck so they want to start from scratch.

They did a presentation on the proposal today at the city council informational meeting, and it had few details and a lot of things needed to be worked out. Councilor Brekke asked about TIFs and more importantly tax rebates. Councilor Erickson ripped them a new one about how the council had very little input on this and how they need to be involved. Yeah, no Sh!t Sherlock, wondering when the council was going to wake up from their Covid Coma and get back to making policy instead pulling a Biden in their basements.


I have been hearing that the city is negotiating purchasing large sections of property in the downtown and core areas that they can prepare for development and sell to large developers for subsidized housing. When I think of cleaning up the core, I think of rehabilitating the existing neighborhoods and houses. If you don’t think these smaller homes are not in demand explain to me why I get 3-4 offers a week on my small 1889 home in central Sioux Falls? BECAUSE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS IN HIGH DEMAND and I am wondering how bulldozing these properties will address that problem?

I will be curious how this rolls out, but I think the major part of the plan involves a very large Caterpillar.



21 comments ↓

#1 Mike Lee Zitterich on 05.04.21 at 10:35 pm

Interesting, when you also read pages 56-59 of the 2021 City Budget Plan; the goal adopted by the City Council is to:

1) Protect the Investments of the City

2) Protect the Investments of the Land Owners

3) Use Local and Federal Funds to Partner with Private Non-Profit Stake Holders to Develop tracts of land in core areas

– Habitat for Humanity, the South Eastern Development Foundation, and Lacey Village will result in 100 Affordable Single and Family Units added to City.

– Developer Partnerships include: Downtown Sioux Falls; Forward Sioux Falls; SECOG; SF Development Foundation; Southeast Tech; and USD Discovery District all of whom are getting a combined $1,739,276 from the tax payers.

– Over $6,000,000 million tax dollars are going to: Housing Development Projects; Revitalization, Rehabilitation; Administration; Community Outreach; Rental Assistance.

The “CITY” holds more than $195,000,000 dollars in LAND OWNERSHIP, and with every new major land purchase, the city takes control of more land within the corporate limits of the city.

What happens where you centralize all “land ownership” within the confines of a few hand selected “land owners”, especially where the CITY itself becomes one of the bigger “land owners” within our territorial limits?

You concentrate much of the “wealth” of assets in the hands of the city government itself, and 2 or 5 private or non-profit property holders.

The vast array of the residents then ‘owe’ a good portion of their incomes in the form of Rental Fees, Property Taxes, and Other forms of Payments.

I agree with Scott here, instead of buying up all this land in the core neighborhoods, I rather see ‘city programs’ to encourage all residents invest in revitalizing, repairing, and building new properties in those areas.

Whether thru Tax Rate Cuts or Rebates, or by Reforming the TIF Program, or some other City Program, give the residents the incentive to fix up their homes, properties, and local ammunities.

– Mike Zitterich

#2 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 05.04.21 at 11:12 pm

I am still waiting for the single phone call where they want to buy my house and reinstate my car’s warranty all in one. Should I trust them? And why do they always say there is something wrong with my PC when I only own an Apple computer?

#3 Blasphemo on 05.05.21 at 11:56 am

Re: Argus 5/4/21 recap of 5/4 Council Meeting: “The changes come after Public Parking Facilities Manager Matt Nelson told councilors the board hadn’t met since late 2019 because of the inability to find enough members for a quorum to meet.” IMO, this is CYA doublespeak that means “We can’t find enough parrots to condone everything parking-related which dovetails with City Hall/developer agendas.” I have a hunch there are plenty of citizens who’d like the opportunity to serve on such a board. Unfortunately, they’re just not members of the “correct insider club” to be considered for an invite to serve in the existing echo chamber.

#4 Further Fear & Loathing on 05.05.21 at 12:41 pm

Mike, you sound like a socialist.

#5 Mike Lee Zitterich on 05.05.21 at 3:42 pm

A Tax Cutting Socialist?

#6 Very Stable Genius on 05.05.21 at 3:56 pm

No quorum and you can’t talk about issues which have already been discussed or resolved. It’s the highjacking of our democracy before our own eyes, while people are still allowed to own guns to supposedly defend our democracy. And you can’t even blame the Russkies for this one. So, what is it called when the civility of our system – via parliamentary procedure – squashes the intended civility that is to be nourished by a fair and true democracy?

#7 Fearing the Fuhrer & More on 05.05.21 at 4:13 pm

Well, you talked about a “City Program”, so isn’t that socialism? Or, isn’t that socialism because a conservative/libertarian suggested it? I know that Noem, Thune, Rounds, and Dusty use that affirmative defense quite often.

#8 D@ily Spin on 05.05.21 at 7:13 pm

City owned land is without property taxes. There’s an unfair flagrant attack on private lease competition. The county loses tax revenue. I smell socialism.

Code enforcement combined with planning and development is empire building. The result will be higher salaries, more employees, and expensive benefit packages. Ongoing, the city has no means to enforce ordinances. The judicial ordinance doesn’t allow circuit court action. The $100 fine is welcomed. Ask for the next $100 (double jeopardy).

#9 D@ily Spin on 05.05.21 at 8:57 pm

How is it that a code enforcement bouncer is a qualified leader for architects and educated municipal managers?

#10 "Woodstock" on 05.06.21 at 2:13 am

“What’s wrong with bulldozers?”…. “I thought it was all about the developers”….

#11 Mike Lee Zitterich on 05.06.21 at 2:20 am

If you want to change the rules to open up “Public Input” to speak on topics addressed and resolved earlier on the agenda, then put forth a “concept” to change city ordinance. “WE” have the right to set the rules as we wish as it relates to “Public” Meetings, Quorums, Boards.

As for my “Plan” to create a STATE LAW to create a “program” to help the CITIZENS invest their “own” incomes into revitalizing their own Homes, Businesses, Properties is NOT socialism when you use your “own money”. I simply stated that those people wishing to do so should get a “Property Tax Rate Cut” for a set number of years equal to the amount of the investment dollars assessed within the estimated project(s).

IF you are paying for example $3,500 a year in property tax on your land, and you utilize my “Community Revitalization Program”, and you obtain an estimate of roughly $10-50,000 dollars in property improvements, you should be able to spread that out over a 15 year period providing you a $2,000 per year property tax reduction. So instead of paying $3,500 a year in property tax, for those 15 years, you are only paying $1,500 a year in property tax, while the other $2,000 a year is going into home/property improvements. After those improvements are made, your property goes up in vallue, the city captures those new revenues, and by state law, we could stipulate the ‘increased dollars” collected by the city must then go back into upgrades to roads, streets, utilities, public parks, in your neighborhood. That is NOT socialism, when you are using your own ‘funds’.

– Mike Zitterich

#12 D@ily Spin on 05.06.21 at 9:07 am

Any city makes mistakes but when everything about city leadership is a mistake, DEFUND CITY HALL. Newark and Camden NJ have successfully merged city and county government. Newark was highest crime but police had zero shots fired last year. Minnehaha County manages its budget yet maintains more area. Does ‘MINNEHAHA FALLS’ sound good?

#13 D@ily Spin on 05.06.21 at 9:22 am

Combined city and county government would be a good way to revoke Strong Mayor city charter oligarchy. Socialism replaced with Democracy? Give back to citizens constitutional right for appeal?

#14 Taxer on 05.06.21 at 10:26 am

It is a tax break scam the mayor and city officials are encouraging. Don’t think PTH is doing anything to make the neighborhood better for residents.

#15 Mike Zitterich on 05.07.21 at 11:11 am

I think we need to discuss who and what a “City” really is..

1) Who really owns the City? The Land Owners. For the land is vested in the people who laid claim to the and. Much of South Dakota is ‘claimed’ thru the 1862 Homestead Act.

2) Almost All Towns and Cities of Eastern South Dakota began thru the process of Groups of People Claiming Land between 1862-1870.

3) Those Individual Land Claims some were 80 acres in size, others were 160 acres in size, became “communes” of Individual Land Owners who then pooled their ‘assets” together to form Townships.

4) Why establish a Township – to gain taxing power, to collect from the Land Owners, and the “Subjects” or “Residents” residing on the land, to build Public or COmmon Roads, Infrastructure, Public Buildings.

5) The Land Owners Established the Township, created the Rules (ordinances), and Appointed or Elected the Mayor whom acts the “At-Large Rep” of the Territory.

6) Those Land Owners then establish common codes to allow the Residents to elect their common councils, whom now are elected every 2 years to represent the growing residency.

7) Nothing changes the fact the Land Owners have the ultimate power.

Case in point – what happens if we mismanage the city, causing the residency to leave, and dwindle down to less than the statutory 250 Residents?

The Land Owners then Petition each other to dissolve the city, sell off all assets, collect as much of the “collectibles” as possible, putting money back in the bank accts, while thru the Circuit Courts – establish rules as such, to keep the Mayor, and City Administration in tact long enough to pay off all expenses, liabilities, debts, employee obligations. This process is a minimum 10 years, and the courts may allow for a 2nd 10 years if necessary.

Once done, all the ‘proceeds’ (profits) left over, are proportioned back to the LAND OWNERS, and the land resorts back to its original sub-divisions as before.

What is the stated PROFIT of the City of Sioux Falls? Almost $2,000,000,000 Billion Dollars. A very wealthy city to say the least.

To understand how the entire process works, I present to you the “Story” of the former Town of Unity-Ville (north of salem). A commune of German Immigrants who formed a “Farming Commune” called Unity-ville 1890 (they came here in the 1870’s); the town reached its peak in 1920 – they had roughly 700 residents. A Small town. IT had a Bank, a Mercantile, a Drug Store, School, a Blacksmith Shop, and a Main Street called Stark Road (still an active road today). As Salem grew, and other German towns were established in the area (Canova, Howard), and thanks the to the Railroad connecting Sioux Falls to Salem, then to Canova, to Howard, and thanks in part to the Dust Storms, which triggered the Great Depression of the 1930’s – the town began to lose its residency, people moved away, mostly north to Canova and Howard. My Great Grandparents were one of them. By 1960 the residency fell to under 250, and the Landowners began to petition to dissove the town, sell off assets, pay their debts, liabilities, and obligations over twenty years (1961-1981). By 1986, it was a shadow of its former self, my grandma took me there to see it, by 1995 – all buildings were torn down except for a “BANK VAULT” and the former Blacksmith Shop which was south of the Bank. Today, the residence is only 10 or 15 people. Just a few houses on the property today. Most likely the descendants of the original “claimants”. As I drive thru today, its pretty much empty land with about 9 houses on the land.

Moral of the story – All Cities are vested, operated, and owned by the LAND OWNERS, whom are represented by the “At-Large Reps” on the City Council, In Sioux Falls, that means the Mayor and 3 At-Large Council Chairs. While the Residents are represented by the “5 Local District Reps” in order to protect the needs and wishes of the residents.

The Story of Unityville – A tale of who really owns a City.

– Mike Zitterich

#16 Very Stable Genius on 05.07.21 at 3:28 pm

Mike, didn’t you once write that we really don’t own our land, that we merely have the right to it in our life time, less any liens a course, from a deed granted by the state?

#17 "Woodstock" on 05.07.21 at 3:29 pm

“Did someone say something about ‘communes’?”…. “Peace man!”…..

#18 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 05.07.21 at 3:35 pm

Did the ‘Dust Storms’ ‘trigger’ the Great Depression, or did they merely had salt to injury? Are you trying to say that those who lived in what is now known as fly over country dictated our economy in the 1930s? And without high speed trains through Brandon (Soon!), are we then screwed?

#19 D@ily Spin on 05.08.21 at 4:04 pm

I don’t think the intent for city government was they become private land barons. Their function is management and services. If Sioux Falls has extreme wealth from ‘Taxation Without Representation’, refunds are due citizens. Rather instead they acquire private and federal land via inflated price and illegal occupation. Then, they use an incompetent overpriced developer and guaranteeing a profit percentage more than the sales tax rate.

1. It cost 80 million for railroad property sold but not owned by BNRR only to discover it can’t be developed.
2. An indoor swimming resort was built on federal property with cloud on title.
3. An unnecessary unprofitable inferior construction Events Center was built without adequate parking. Voters would have voted it down. They thought they were only deciding a location for the future. The city took this to mean they voted to build.
4. A 5 story recently constructed parking garage sits abandoned downtown.
5. A 4 story city office building was built without a public vote. It’s mostly vacant. Rented office space was cheaper in an available building closer to city hall.

No doubt city planners are incompetent. Create more departments and hire another thousand but keep to full time coffee breaks. If you need to feel important, lie like a car salesman but stay away from real estate activity.

#20 Erica on 05.09.21 at 8:22 pm

They want to destroy single family homes and make it impossible for those lower income folks to finally be able to afford their first home because the city wants to keep taking away those older affordable homes to dump massive multifamily homes (more expensive and far less privacy). This city is after the “smart city” feel and design that much larger metro cities are chasing.

#21 Further Fear & Loathing on 05.10.21 at 6:31 pm

“…. dump massive multifamily homes”

That sounds Soviet to me. Where’s Kristi when you need her? ThuneHaken must be a communist. And he likes to run like Thune in more ways than one. Beware of the athletic, too, they want you to join the Olympic team and forget about personal freedoms.

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