Mayor’s Monthly Column: Making Historic Progress for Sioux Falls Amid a Pandemic
As we start a new season, I can’t help but reflect on the past several months. Through hard work, resilience and a commitment to service, your team at the City of Sioux Falls has continued to move our community forward despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.
We continue to learn how to live and coexist with the virus. But as I’ve mentioned before, it is also not healthy to live in a continued state of uncertainty and fear. We must move forward and will continue to cope with the challenges of the pandemic by relying on what has sustained us as a community before: our resilience and our ability to unite. Together we must continue to face the pandemic with a positive One Sioux Falls attitude that focuses on caring for our families and helping our neighbors.
We have made historic progress in key areas over the past two months — from investing in our public safety teams to improving digital equity across the community. To acknowledge that hard work and several of those key wins for the community, we are kicking off One Sioux Falls Week. This is a chance for us to further highlight several impactful projects as I’ve noted below.
We are also launching an exciting community-wide initiative on Thursday, Sept. 24, as part of One Sioux Falls Week. Stay tuned to the City’s social media channels to learn more and to hear from several City directors who will share several wins as part of One Sioux Falls Week.
Public Safety Training Facility and Metro 911 Center: Earlier in September, our City Council approved the bonding of a new Public Safety Training Facility and Metro 911 center. This facility is a multi-decade investment in our people — both our public safety teams and Sioux Falls residents. With the approval of Community Bond 2020, along with the contract bargaining approval with the labor unions representing our police and fire departments, we are ensuring that our public safety professionals have the resources they need to continue to provide top-level services to the community.
The Link Community Triage Center: We are on track to open The Link community triage center early next year to fulfill a critical niche in our community for providing mental health and addiction services. A $500,000 donation from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust was announced in August and will be used toward construction costs. Watch for further exciting announcements about The Link as we gear up for the opening in February 2021, including details about the community partners for the project work who are helping to make this community triage center a reality.
Inclusive Digital Equity Alliance: Digital equity is an area with considerable opportunity for improvement in our community. According to 2017 American Community Survey data, 13 percent of households in Sioux Falls had no Internet access, or 9,399 households. Thanks to a gift from Midco, we are establishing a community task force — the Inclusive Digital Equity Alliance, or IDEA — to develop a strategy to increase digital equity across Sioux Falls. IDEA will launch later this year.
Approval of 2021 Budget: Our City Council voted on Sept. 15 to approve the 2021 budget, which includes investments into additional body cameras for our police officers, significant investments into our roadway network, and increased dollars for the repair and maintenance of our award-winning park system.
The City of Sioux Falls does not press pause for a pandemic — we push forward to ensure our community will remain strong, safe and thriving into the future. Know that my administration will continue to focus on these and other worthwhile projects that will keep our community moving forward as One Sioux Falls.