Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Your tomato plants will be so happy

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This weekend, I've got a simplified look at how the Jacobson Park project downtown has quadrupled in cost (and added new features) with the help of private donors. You'll also find the latest on the downtown river greenway project, our weekly event guide, some Super Simplified Stories and a look from our friends at the zoo at conservation efforts to help pollinators.

And now, news:


Why a planned downtown park keeps getting bigger

Simplified: It started out as an ice ribbon and accessible playground. Today, the plans for Jacobson Plaza have expanded to add even more features – and a cost that's quadruple the initial estimate.

Why it matters

  • From the start, the downtown park has only been possible because of private donors. The Jacobson family's initial donation of $2 million sparked a master plan for the park – located just south of Falls Park and north of the Levitt.
  • Now, with two more large donations – including $1.5 million from T. Denny Sanford and $1 million from the Lloyd family – the city will be able to complete the entire master plan for the park at one time for a total cost of $16.5 million.
  • Those donations will only be made if the City Council approves an additional $3 million in public dollars to the project. The city has already agreed to spend $5.5 million to develop this downtown park.
"It's all about balancing priorities," Councilor Alex Jensen said. "I think continuing to strengthen our downtown is going to be something that I believe the City Council and administration will want to continue to move forward."

Tell me more about the park features

And learn what happens next.


See what's next for the downtown River Greenway

Simplified: The city is ready to go to bid for the next phase of the downtown River Greenway thanks to the help of a $750,000 gift from Lloyd Companies. Here's a look at what's to come.

Why it matters

  • The city has been working to add trails, recreation and more along the Big Sioux River since the first greenway plan was adopted in 1975. The latest phase of redevelopment runs downtown near the under-construction Steel District development.
  • With the latest donation, the project will now include "Lloyd Landing" – a gathering space adjacent to both the river and the Steel District.
  • Craig Lloyd said the name was inspired by his recent reading of local history book "City of Hustle." He noted that in the early days of Sioux Falls, immigrants would get off the train in that area of downtown and go on to stake their claim.
"It became a landing spot, so we thought it was appropriate to have a landing as a stepping stone for what's going to happen downtown in the next 100 years," Lloyd said.

Tell me more about the greenway

And see more pictures here.


Super Simplified Stories

  • Sioux Falls guy wins Guy's Grocery Games. Beau Vondra of Look's Marketplace won on a recent episode of chef and "Mayor of Flavortown" Guy Fieri's game show. Read more here.
  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated. Three bats found in the city have tested positive for rabies in the last month. Animal Control says there's no need to panic if you find a bat in your home, just call 605-367-7000, and someone will come take care of it.


How the zoo and butterfly house are helping pollinators this summer

This is a paid piece from the Great Plains Zoo.

Simplified: The Great Plains Zoo is intensifying its efforts to conserve Dakota skipper butterflies and other pollinators. Here’s a look at what they are doing and how you can learn more at this weekend's Flutterfest event.

Why it matters

  • Pollinators are an essential part of our ecosystem, and the Dakota skipper butterfly in particular is a critically endangered species the zoo is working to help protect.
  • The zoo has created a new pollinator garden on its campus in the last year to help encourage visitors to interact with nature and to demonstrate what a successful pollinator garden can look like.
  • Visitors can learn more not only about the zoo’s pollinator conservation efforts but also learn how to help pollinators in their own yards at Flutterfest on Saturday.
“Planting native plants helps conserve pollinators as well as helping conserve the prairie ecosystem in which we live," Conservation Director Stephanie Arne said. "We'll have lots of information at Flutterfest to help you get started."

Tell me more about Flutterfest

And learn more about the zoo's conservation efforts.


Stuff to do: June 9-15

  • Celebrate cultures. LSS and the Multi-Cultural Center's annual Festival of Cultures takes place starting 10 a.m. Saturday at the Levitt. See dancers, hear music, and eat food. I've also heard the volunteers are very cute (namely, my husband – editor's note: bias). Full schedule here.
  • Celebrate pride. Sioux Falls Pride celebrations kick off with a parade 10 a.m. Saturday on Eighth Street downtown. Then head over to 8th and Railroad for the pride festival, and stick around for the after parties at Icon Lounge and Club David. Details here.
  • Have some rosé. You've got two chances to find a rosé tasting this weekend. Head to Look's Marketplace from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, or check out M.B. Haskett's Rosé Extravaganza from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Rock the block. Local service organizations are teaming up to help with home repair projects and a community celebration in the Whittier neighborhood. Sign up here to help with a neighborhood revitalization project on Saturday. Or, stop by the Rock the Block party starting at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Union Gospel Mission. There's also an open mic.
  • Recognize the Longest Day. The Longest Day is a free, family-friendly event at Lake Lorraine designed for people to learn more about Alzheimer’s, honor those who have battled the disease and celebrate caregivers. Activities start at 6 p.m. Thursday. Find a full schedule here.


What I'm falling for this weekend:

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