Vision Sioux Falls tracking the wants and needs of community in 10 years

The coalition of city leaders is gathering data through an online survey, popup listening sessions, roundtable discussions and outreach to underserved communities.

Vision Sioux Falls.jpg

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — An array of city government, business and education leaders are tackling the complicated question of what Sioux Falls could be — or should be — in 10 years.

Vision Sioux Falls is not just an aspirational plan for growth but also a blueprint to identify and meet the needs of the people who live here.

The idea of community planning is not new. The organizers say this effort is unique in the depth of outreach involved to gather data from more elements of the city.

Mike Lynch, executive director of Forward Sioux Falls.

“We want it be broad based and we want it to be inclusive to where it will positively impact every segment of our population,” said Mike Lynch, the executive director of Forward Sioux Falls and the project’s manager.

To do that, Vision Sioux Falls is using an online survey to establish focus points. It’s a 5-minute questionnaire that asks for input on what the city does well and where the needs are.


The survey, which you can take here , will be live at least until the middle of December.

In addition to questions, there is an interactive map where users can pinpoint areas of the city and make suggestions for improvements or needs.

The data-gathering effort also includes pop-up listening sessions in grocery stores, parks and other locations; one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions with key stakeholders; and outreach to underserved populations.

The core committee are representatives from Forward Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Development Foundation, City of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls School District, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Empire United Way, and Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Beyond that steering committee, is a “strategic council” of about 20 groups with a range of perspectives. An additional group of “community allies” are engaged to reach underserved populations.

“We want them to serve as a bridge for these conversations that we know we need to have,” Lynch said. “These underserved populations deserve a voice in this process as much as anyone.”

RDG Planning & Design is leading the process. The Omaha-based consulting firm works with communities across the country.

Lynch said the process is broken down into three questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?


The final report will be finished by early summer.

In this early data-gathering phase, it’s critical to be open-minded and not be limited by preconceived notions of what people want or need, Lynch said.

“We want to be nimble,” he said. “We don’t want this to be such a rigid process that we can’t stop and say there are opportunities we need to capitalize on; there are topical areas that it has become apparent are extremely important to community members and we want to address those.”

Forward Sioux Falls is a joint venture between the Chamber of Commerce and the Development Foundation. The organization identifies initiatives to grow jobs, business and quality of life and raises money to fund those efforts.

Since 1987, Forward Sioux Falls has raised more than $52 million.

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