Every time I see the big wheels of Downtown Sioux Falls talk about their investment, I only think of one person, Carole. A little rough around the edges I still remember meeting her in 1993 with a cig hanging out of her mouth and a passion for Downtown Sioux Falls.

When I moved to Sioux Falls in 1991 I would stroll downtown, it was basically a handful of businesses and a ghost town. Zandbroz, Tina’s, Minervas, Ed Salears and the Hat. You could literally walk downtown on a weeknight and see nobody. I was reminded of this in 2019 on a First Friday where the sidewalks were so packed you could barely walk, it was like Times Square.

I worked for Pat Pilcher, a former legislator who owned a print shop in the old Lewis building (I think it is that fancy dessert shop now) and Carole would come in and ‘throw the bull’ with the ladies there. She said it like it was.

So how did Carole make downtown successful? I often joke she stuck her boot up Mayor Munson’s butt to do something, and if I can credit Dave for one thing, he listened, and move forward. He actually dared to remove the rail road tracks from Downtown, but former Mayor Bucktooth and Bowlcut f’d that up.

Make no mistake, downtown is what it is because of Carole and a willing partner in Mayor Munson. And in celebrating her life, I don’t want anyone to forget it, because I think if Carole was still alive today, she would look at the Bunker Ramp and go, ‘Look at the Monster I created.’ then let out a big laugh. We will miss you, rest in peace.

5 Thoughts on “Downtown Sioux Falls success is because of Carole Pagones

  1. D@ily Spin on June 2, 2021 at 9:17 am said:

    Phillips was once blocked off. Reminded me of the empty street in ‘Back to the Future’ without the DeLorean. Lately it’s the Bumpouts. Not fun dodging cars without a Matador Cape. Downtown is working. Time for the council to come up with something crazy. Zip Line? Scooters?

  2. "Woodstock" on June 2, 2021 at 3:09 pm said:

    “What about Mary Jane pedal puffs?”…. “That sounds like a good idea to me”…. (… “Emmitt!”…) ….

  3. Mike Lee Zitterich on June 4, 2021 at 3:52 am said:

    I liked it better when Phillips Ave was blocked off @ 5th Street. Thats back when we had all the Railroad Lines on both sides of the river, Pitts Steel, Sioux Steel, No Development, and I could walk up and thru the trees along the river whenever I wanted, Before all the fences got put up.

    I love Trains, and now that the tracks are practically gone, I miss them. I am old enough to remember the old Yankton Trail “railroad line” that followed I-229 south to Lennox and Parker.

    All those Train Haters forced us to remove our tracks, Shame on you. Downtown was so much better with the tracks on both sides of the river.

  4. scott on June 4, 2021 at 12:22 pm said:

    wasn’t there some controversy that she sold her house to the city in some sweetheart deal?

  5. Researcher on June 5, 2021 at 7:05 am said:

    scott, Carole did not get a sweetheart deal she got what her property was worth. What she knew and pressed was the actual size of her property. Her property was on 26th St next to the abandoned rail line. She knew she owned the right to the land the abandoned and claimed by the state of South Dakota. The land was easement property, not fee simple possession meaning the property reverted back to the original plotted property deed.

    Carole would not allow the city and state steal property rightly owned by her. Carole actually owned the and land stolen by the Janklow administration. So instead of having the city platted lot her house sat on, by doing a proper survey and deed search she owned a great deal of land she wanted and demanded to be paid for.

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