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Resident Feedback Guides Sioux Falls to Record-Breaking Economic Growth

Sioux Falls, SD, USA
POLCO
In Collaboration With
City of Sioux Falls

Government Champion

City Leadership

Cost

Initial:
15.5 Thousand USD

Project Status

In Progress/Under Construction since 2021

Keywords

infrastructure
citizen engagement
survey
local economy
economic growth

Challenges Addressed

Economic Development
Small Business
Citizen Engagement
Fiscal Uncertainty

Motivation

Smart city
Resilient city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type

Project

At a Glance

Many communities have struggled financially during the pandemic. But, Sioux Falls has maintained a focus on gathering resident feedback and making Sioux Falls comfortable, fun, and beautiful. This leadership has led to record-breaking economic growth, even during COVID-19.

Solution(s) Used

Sioux Falls relies on resident input to make sure they are spending limited resources in the best ways. The National Community Survey (The NCS) is one important tool that assists Sioux Falls with priority-setting for their budget and Capital Improvement Plans. The NCS is the gold-standard in resident opinion surveys on community livability. Sioux Falls has participated in The NCS for several years.

“By utilizing this kind of community input, the City is able to target the investment of limited taxpayer dollars where the biggest bang for the buck can be achieved,” said Jim David, Chief of Legislation and Policy.

One way Sioux Falls built its local economy is through a significant investment in infrastructure to make the City a comfortable place to live. In 2019, Sioux Falls invested more than $135 million to improve public utilities, transportation networks, wastewater facilities, neighborhoods, and streets.

The City also is working with the State of South Dakota to improve various highways. “These highway improvements will significantly reduce commute times for drivers and open up hundreds of acres to commercial development,” said David.

The City also became one of only 22 communities across the United States to begin implementing a 5G network. “A fast network will help advance the capacity for technological innovation for businesses large and small,” said David.

In addition to investing in infrastructure, Sioux Falls focuses on development and culture to make the city a fun and beautiful place to live. For example, Sioux Falls constructed a $4.6 million outdoor concert venue in 2019. “The venue has been a catalyst for significant reinvestment in the city’s downtown core,” said David.

In 2019, the City Council also approved a large tax increment financing (TIF) project in downtown Sioux Falls. Originally, the City intended to use the TIF to construct a network of residential and commercial buildings, a hotel, and parking ramp. The City temporarily paused the plans during COVID-19 to reassess how needs will change. They are in the process of adapting the plans and then will move forward.

Over the past few years, the City saw a record-breaking amount of construction each year. Prior to COVID-19, office, institutional, and education construction flourished, increasing by over 190 percent between 2017 and 2019. Commercial construction also increased by 25 percent between 2017 to 2019.

While commercial, office, institutional, and education construction slowed a bit during COVID-19, residential construction increased dramatically this past year. “Between apartments and single family homes, we set an all-time record for the number of dwelling units built in our city and building permits pulled this past year,” said Jeff Eckhoff, Director for Planning and Development Services.

Outcomes

  1. Record-Breaking Construction: Office, institutional, and education construction increased 190% between 2017 and 2019. Commercial construction increased by 25 percent between 2017 to 2019
  2. Resident Satisfaction: According to the National Community Survey, Sioux Falls’ residents rate almost all aspects of the City’s economy higher than the national benchmark.
  3. Winning Results: Sioux Falls won the 2020 Voice of the People Award for Excellence in Economy. This is the only national award that honors local governments based on feedback from residents.

Something Unique

Sioux Falls won the 2020 Voice of the People award for Excellence in Economy for high ratings on The National Community Survey (The NCS) and taking the best actions based on The NCS.

Who Should Consider?

Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development leaders, City Administrators, business leaders