Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls is rearranging some employees to create a new division focused on making the best use of space in existing neighborhoods – especially the city's core – and fixing up spots that have become run-down or out of compliance with city code.

Why it matters:

  • Sioux Falls is growing so fast, the housing market is struggling to keep up – and not for lack of trying. Residential building permits last month more than doubled where they were in April 2019.
  • Another 7,000 homes are expected to be needed by 2025, Mayor Paul TenHaken said Monday in his State of the City address.
  • As the city continues to grow outward, planning officials and those in a new Neighborhood Revitalization Division are looking at ways Sioux Falls' core may be able to grow up – or glow up.
"We've really got to take a better look at our core ... we don't want those areas to be stagnant," said Matt Tobias, who will be heading up the new division after 15 years working with the city in both public works and planning.

Tell me more about the new division

It's essentially a remix of existing positions in various segments of city government from housing to planning to zoning to parks to code enforcement. There are no new full-time positions added.

What's the goal of the new group?

To create more housing options for people who need a place to live.

It's also a way to get different city departments sitting at the same table to work more efficiently.

  • For example, Tobias said, if you had a house with broken windows, cars parked on the lawn and piles of garbage in the driveway, right now you would get three different letters from three different areas of city government – property maintenance, health and zoning.
  • With the new division, the idea is all these groups will work together so one person can see all of the various code violations and deal with them at one time.

Ok, so is this just a way to clean up neighborhoods?

That's part of it. But the goal isn't to lead with code enforcement, Tobias said.

The new division will also help connect homeowners with resources in the city and greater community that could help with necessary home improvements.

It's also a goal of the group to help neighborhoods take advantage of neighborhood association grants, find ways to serve infrastructure needs, and, when it makes sense, find ways to work with developers to build new homes and apartments.

Essentially, it's another avenue for the city to invest in neighborhoods, officials say.

"It's hard for us to ask a developer or neighbor to invest in a neighborhood if we're not going to," said Jeff Eckoff, director of planning and development services.

What happens next?

The new division officially hits the ground running on June 1, but Tobias said it'll take awhile longer for all of the departments to find their flow in working together.