The city just celebrated the completion of the first phase of the river greenway improvement between 6th and 8th Streets. It is beautiful down there and if you haven't had the chance to walk along the river front downtown, you must do so. The downtown area to Falls Park is a unique area that will only continue to revitalize our city and showcase Sioux Falls.
We didn't just get to this stage yesterday, however. At the dedication yesterday, our mayor was quoted as saying:
“Two years ago … I don’t remember anyone talking about expansion or growth (downtown),” Mayor Mike Huether said to the hundreds who came out for the ribbon-cutting. “That’s not the case today.”
Really? No one was talking about expansion or growth downtown before he got elected mayor? The river greenway improvements didn't just happen within the last two years. Nor did this mayor have the vision to make this latest expansion or growth downtown happen so shame on him for taking credit for it.
The Big Sioux River Greenway Plan was first adopted in 1975. The second Big Sioux River Greenway Plan was adopted in April, 1987. The Greenway & Riverfront Master Plan was adopted in 2004 and identified 4 Zones for development. Zone 1 was the Downtown Riverfront which encompassed approximately 2.5 miles from North Falls Park to 14th Street.
This expansion and river greenway improvement took years of planning by people who had the vision to see the potential of a river which meandered around and through Sioux Falls and a spectacular falls and park area that could become a focal point of interest for citizens of the city and visitors. People with vision have been planning the downtown revitalization development for years and have been talking about it long before this mayor took office.
Whether it's taking credit for putting up new directional signs for Falls Park because he says, “I’m a marketing guy, development guy and growth guy … or this latest completion of Phase 1 of the downtown greenway between 6th and 8th Streets, this mayor thinks he is a one man band for all that happens lately in Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls' has had a good thing going for a long time and it has taken the collective efforts of multiple organizations, and people who had the foresight and dedication to see the what ifs, the potential in remaking and revitalizing the city's most important assets.
Downtown is the heart of this city and people recognized it and have planned it. This mayor just happens to be in office when Phase I was completed. Thank you, mayor, for not taking the money away from this project, but please don't take credit for a vision that was planned and nurtured and started long before you ever took over the mayor office.