Sioux Falls ramps up inspections to find and fix failing sidewalks

The city hit a goal of 6,400 inspections last year as part of an effort to comply with ADA requirements.

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A sidewalk in Sioux Falls marked with pink paint indicates the need for repairs.
Contributed / City of Sioux Falls Public Works

SIOUX FALLS — There were a lot more patches of pink paint on city sidewalks last year.

The Sioux Falls Public Works Department reached its goal of 6,400 sidewalk inspections in 2022 as part of a plan to meet requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Residential sidewalk inspections by city staff are just one part of that number, principal engineer Mike Heiberger told the city council this week. It also includes new construction and complaints filed by residents.

The city revamped the inspection and repair process after crafting a transitional plan with the federal government to meet the ADA requirements in 2018. That led to putting together a group with members from several different departments in order to streamline the process and make a plan.

“Our sidewalk program isn’t anything new,” Heiberger said. “It’s just that we have stepped it up and revamped what we are doing.”


At the beginning of 2022, there were 2,600 properties that needed to be repaired at a total cost of about $3 million, Heiberger said.

Sioux Falls Public Works Department is urging drivers to plan for delays and to slow down.

The pink paint appears when inspectors find sidewalks that have degraded to the point where they pose hazards for residents in wheelchairs, kids on scooters, walkers and runners, for example.

Sioux Falls has 64,000 properties, Heiberger said. The goal is to inspect 10% each year. To do that, and to spread the work across older and newer neighborhoods, the city is applying a kind of pie-shaped map this year, Heiberger said.

“We should be touching a sidewalk in our city a minimum of once every 10 years,” he said.

Of that $3 million in repairs last year, residents completed $1.4 million on their own, either by hiring contractors or doing the work themselves. Another $1.1 million was done by the city hiring the contractor. And about $200,000 was on city property.

“It wasn’t just the residents who saw complaints on their sidewalks,” Heiberger said. “We did as well and we intended to fix those and they were fixed in 2022.”

A backlog of $1.25 million in work remains from the past two years, which he said should be as close to zero as possible by the end of this year.

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The Sioux Falls Public Works Department leaves this door hanger at a property when a sidewalk as identified as in need of repair.
Contributed / Sioux Falls Public Works

The inspection process works like this.


Once a failing sidewalk is identified, the area is marked with the familiar pink paint and a door hanger is left at the home or business. That is followed by a letter within 30 days detailing options and the process.

If the repairs aren’t made, a second letter goes out in six to nine months, depending on the time of year.

The property owner has the option of doing the work themselves, hiring a contractor or letting a contractor hired by the city do it. If the city takes care of it, the cost averages about $240 a square panel, Heiberger told the council.

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Sioux Falls City Councilor Curt Soehl.
Contributed / City of Sioux Falls

“As somebody who has poured a lot of concrete, I’ll say that $240 a panel is pretty cheap,” Council Chairman Curt Soehl said.

The average invoice from the city is about $1,100.

If that bill isn’t paid, eventually the cost can be applied to the property taxes, spread over five years. The city does have a grant program for home improvements for qualifying residents up to $5,000 in repairs.

More information on the sidewalk program, including guidelines and resources for property owners can be found at .

Or call city engineering at 605-367-8601.


Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for Sioux Falls Live. Reach him at
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