CURRENT ISSUE
APR. 02, 2018 - VOL. 54 No. 6

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Chair's Column
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Chair´s Column

Message from the Chair

By Steve Van Buskirk
2017-18 Chair of the Board

Steve Van Buskirk
Steve Van Buskirk
2017-18 Chair of the Board

The truth hurts, but I must admit, roads are a little boring. Despite that, as a real estate developer, I often participate in conversations on how to build roads, where to build them, when to build them and the inevitable question - how do you pay for them? A seemingly boring topic; that is until the moment when your vehicle hits a major pothole, or your morning commute is twice as long as you expect.

In this issue of Chamber News, we'll bring you up to speed on the latest road improvements planned in 2018. Through my involvement with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, I've seen firsthand the voice your Chamber has in infrastructure conversations.

There are two primary departments within the city that make important road decisions for our community: the Planning Department and the Engineering Department. Planning determines the where and when, while Engineering works out how the roads will be built.

The Planning Department takes their role seriously because they know the decisions that they make will affect their customers (a.k.a. the citizens of Sioux Falls). Year after year, they prepare plans to determine where our growth will lead us, educate the community on how it will happen and assist our members in navigating the regulatory procedures necessary to get a project permitted. The Chamber plays an important role by providing a sounding board to the planners. We do this by ensuring consistent attendance of staff and volunteers at the meetings where the Planning Department is seeking feedback or guidance on plans and policies. This allows the planners to hear from a large customer base and it gives our members a presence when decisions are being made. Our collaboration with the planners also includes the annual city bus tour. This educational event gives members the opportunity to spend an afternoon with the planners traveling around the city learning about where and when projects are happening.

The City Engineering department is the driver on how the roads will be built. Once the plans are in place, they prepare the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the City, which details the funding mechanism for all city road projects. To match our needs, plans and funding they hold joint meetings with interested parties, such as the Chamber, prior to the publication of the CIP plan. Engineering is also more technical by nature because they deal with the specifics of a project. Because those specifics can get expensive and there are difficult choices to make, they have created the Infrastructure Review Advisory (IRAB) Board. Your Chamber is there, at those meetings, participating in those discussions.

Collaboration to create the best possible plans and systems to get our city built in the right way is a benefit to all Chamber members. Your membership dollar investment ensures our participation at the right time with our partners at the city.

Enjoy the smooth ride!

 
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