People think the ‘image’ problem we have Downtown is from the homeless and panhandlers, when it’s really something we can’t see! The stench from the packing plant and the train whistles.

Last week while riding through the Cherapa and Sioux Steel District projects at night I was astonished by how incredibly bad it smelled as I stood in front of the Northside condos at Cherapa facing 6th street which are less then a mile from the packing plant. I can’t image having a patio on the Northside of that building and having to smell that every night and morning?

“Hey babe! Fire up the Keurig, I’m going to have a cup of coffee on our new patio. What flavor would you like dear? Pork Belly Cafe’ or Hot Dog Slurry?”

Bet it would go good with a maple bacon topped donut.

That was one of the biggest issues with the Railroad Redevelopment project, it never did anything to mitigate two of the biggest problems we have with redeveloping downtown; train traffic (whistles) and the stench from the manure factory.

Of all the projects that the former mayor screwed up, this was colossal. We had millions of Federal dollars to transform DTSF and we did nothing but hand over a gigantic check to Warren Buffet. I think we should have moved the train switching yard to the Arena/EC site and built the EC and new convention center where the current Cherapa II is located, in fact, the developer was banking on it.

Joe Kirby writes a great article about the lack of transparency surrounding the new prison. I have purposely tried not to write about it, because the lack of transparency is predictable with these folks and is beginning to sound like a broken record that has been playing in Pierre for over 50 years of one party rule.

The old prison will likely remain. A state legislator recently mentioned on the TDS podcast that the state just spent $6 million on the Jameson Annex medical facilities, which tells her that the facility will continue to be used for low security inmates after the new prison opens.

What about Smithfields? I think the Feds and the State and even the city had an opportunity here to pressure the closure of the facility for good during the pandemic. But my understanding of the situation was the Feds had to keep it open due to critical infrastructure (food production) even though a large percentage of pork produced at the facility likely goes to China (you know, because they like own the place.)

Let’s just say that bulldozing the current pen, Smithfields and every fricking train crossing in DTSF would be a very heavy lift considering two of the problems are controlled by Federal easements, etc. You would think having the 3rd most powerful person in the Senate being from our state we could get some movement on at least the train issue?

This town passes up opportunities like this quite consistently. Both Mayors Hanson and Munson toyed with a new east/west route thru the country club properties and were shot down. I still think you could arrange a 5 lane thoroughfare thru the center of the courses without disrupting most of the property. The amount of traffic that would be diverted would be monumental and would cut a lot of commutes in half mileage wise.

I’m still not sure where Veteran’s Parkway goes? I joked this summer when I had to drive on it going to Brandon that they replaced Huset’s Speedway with the Veteran’s Speedway.

Maybe there is a less valuable and less controversial location available. Or maybe this Lincoln County site is the best one available. It’s hard to know without more transparency.

And Kirby points out the crux of our problems, it’s not ugly old prisons and a stinky noisy downtown that is hampering development, it’s government’s lack of sunshine.

And when it comes to open government, as the panhandler’s sign says, ‘Anything Helps!’

6 Thoughts on “We have an image problem in Downtown Sioux Falls

  1. Mike Lee Zitterich on October 31, 2023 at 12:12 pm said:

    Scott, report a little on the history of how the Rail Road itself became a part of our history, and because of that history, I will promote the idea that the Rail Road should stay right here it is. Let please allude to that a portion of our Ancestors whole to came to this Great Bend of the Big Sioux River for a reason. They were directed by a charter, which was given to a Group of People using the name Dakota Land Company, this company was highly vested in the former Mail Service, prior to forming the St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Omaha Rail Road Line. On my own site, I list the names of these men, and for good reason, the rail road should stay. With this company, they used their political power to build Sioux Falls City, a group of Democrat Politicians from D.C of who gained a land patent to build a town site on 320 acres of land. Their dream of building a rail road connection in Dakota Territory, helping to create vibrant city, which later became the Town of Sioux Falls sitting on 640 acres of land once owned by the Western Town Company and Dakota Land Company. The land is still governed today by the Land Patent, and it was reserved for both the rail road and commercial use to build a town. Under the terms of the patent, and based on the original treaties agreed to prior, IF, the rail road is removed, it would resort back to the Sante Sioux Tribe, as the treaty granted to them, the land. So, if we were to remove the tracks, it would vest back in control of the Federal Government in care of the “tribal nation”. The Rail Road was there first, so it should stay in Sioux Falls, I find it odd how people wish to move into Downtown Sioux Falls, then complain about the trains, when for most of us, the TRAINS do not bother us, nor hurt us, nor are we ashamed of the Trains. For people like myself, and there are many of us left today, we cherish the Trains.

  2. Very Stable Genius on October 31, 2023 at 2:55 pm said:

    It’s even a Tale of Two Cities within their development(al) minds.

  3. D@ily Spin on October 31, 2023 at 8:51 pm said:

    I, myself, wouldn’t take a chance living downtown. Why? Because it’s unpredictable and a risky investment. It’s not meant for families. It’s not an art community. There’s a few senile retired city professionals but this is an unpopular fad. There’s some bank employee types that once they start a family move out to school districts, soccer fields, and personable neighbors. It’s new but there’s unprofitable retail with condos on the second floor. Characteristically, this sort of development doesn’t work in most of the top 50 city centers around the country. It’s deemed a success now but (inevitably) will become flop house district.

    Dell Rapids was the original railroads junction. BNSF runs a few trains through here in case another mayor like Huether wants to buy more yards they don’t own for 80 million. Federal money used to buy federal land. Now that’s really dumb.

    The hog plant smells but it’s everywhere, not just downtown. It’s a valuable employer this city needs.

  4. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on October 31, 2023 at 9:34 pm said:

    I like the idea of returning the East Bank to the tribes. I remember when AIM had offices on North Phillips on the West Bank (1974)…. Wait a minute, this is all sounding far too familiar….

  5. Mike Lee Zitterich on November 1, 2023 at 1:43 pm said:

    Original Land Patents:

    Milwaukee Rail Road Company (east bank)
    Queen Bee Land Company (east bank)
    Western Town Company (west bank)
    Dakota Land Company (west bank)

    From these four groups, you get todays current landowners, the Town of Sioux Falls (1879 to 1994), to whom this area became Downtown Sioux Falls.

  6. West Side Banker on November 1, 2023 at 4:46 pm said:

    WOW! “Land Patents”! I love it when you talk about patented lands or Land Patents. It sounds so controlling. AND, you would be amazed with just how many really like it that way.

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