By Steve Kolbeck, Sioux Falls Development Foundation Board Chair
We’ve all heard the expression “going above and beyond.” It’s always been the tradition through Forward Sioux Falls, city projects, our educational systems, and our organization’s many programs and projects to be the best and take it one step further. To go beyond.
As the Sioux Falls Development Foundation nears eight years of developments in Foundation Park; and the half-way point of the eighth Forward Sioux Falls program, our organization is embarking on a strategic planning process to evaluate what we have done over the past five years and chart a course for the next five years. Borrowing from the recent celebration of the EROS Data Centers 50th anniversary, and their partnership with the Development Foundation for three decades, we have developed our theme for next year…GOING BEYOND.
Since those early years, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, with the help from our partners and the Forward Sioux Falls campaigns, our region has the reputation of not just getting things done but doing them well. This has only been possible because of the willingness of municipal, business, and community leaders to go above and beyond what is expected. Donating literally millions of private dollars to partner with public funds to make things “just a little bit better” and to stand above what other communities are doing.
Two recent examples include announcements of the new skate park at 10th and Cliff and the Phase III of the River Greenway downtown. Both these projects could have been accomplished with just public dollars; but limited funds accounts for limited features. Without the addition of private dollars, these projects, and many others would be nice, but average. With the addition of private sector dollars, these attractions are now world-class and rank as some of the best in the country.
This same logic applies to the Development Foundation and Foundation Park. Without the help from the City, the State, the private sector and a general vision of what was needed to go beyond traditional parks, Sioux Falls was able to create South Dakota’s largest industrial park and only megasite. Without this, we would not have been able to create thousands of new jobs to date and nearly $600 million in new tax base for the City, the County and the school districts. Without this going beyond attitude, we would not be seeing the tremendous growth we now see downtown, the housing development, the population growth or the consistent retail and commercial growth we have experienced.
The Development Foundation is looking toward the next five years — to make sure that controlled, organized and smart growth continues. We will continue to go above and beyond, just like our EROS partners have done over the past 50 years. Just as EROS has their mission, we have ours and we will continue to look for new ways to grow our tax base, create quality jobs, and improve the quality of life for all.