Water solutions are not for short time thinking. There are certain things in managing city government infrastructure needs that take a long term vision. Shape Sioux Falls 2035 is a comprehensive plan adopted by the City Council on December 7, 2009 with policies that help guide future ordinances, budgets and master plans. This is what the plan says about the Slip Up Creek Growth Area:
At one point, Slip Up Creek was identified as a future reservoir area for City water needs. However, following the emergence of the Lewis and Clark water project, the reservoir is no longer being considered for that purpose. Instead, the Slip Up Creek area should be preserved as a rural agricultural area. In the later half of the growth horizon, the southern section of the growth area will urbanize. The Slip Up Creek floodplain area should be protected, and existing City-owned parcels in the floodplain should be preserved as flooding buffer and future park area.
So, why sell the land now? Well, for one thing, that land will bring in $2.4 million dollars to go back into the water fund to help the water rates. Short term thinking. How do we know that the money from this sale won't be used to deal with the water issues at the event center construction site? Once sold, gone forever. Once put into the water fund, spent forever. I have an extended family of farmers who say never sell the land.
I agree with former mayor Gary Hanson when he says the city is making a mistake giving up on Slip Up Creek. Why even the city's own comprehensive plan says the existing city-owned parcels in the floodplain should be preserved as flooding buffer and future park area. Once that land is sold, it is gone forever. Land is gold and holds the future to this city. Think of the long term uses for this land. A possible reservoir for recreational use? Forward quality of life thinking for this community.
But it appears this administration lives in the moment. At the moment, selling the land means dollar signs and using it for short term water rate relief is an "in the moment" mentality. I hope the City Council has some sense to stop this proposed sale.