Progress has long-lasting impacts
By Dana Dykhouse
2014-15 Chair of the Board
2014-15 Chair of the Board
Many people who are newer to our community may not remember a time when Phillips to the Falls didn´t link a vibrant downtown to the site of our city´s namesake, Falls Park. Many may not remember a time when that park wasn´t so beautiful or when a pedestrian mall covered most of Phillips Avenue.
Through the efforts and vision of many, however, today our city´s core is a great place to work, live and play. You can read more about progress downtown in this issue, including future plans for downtown as laid out in the recently-released 2025 plan.
The success of Sioux Falls´ downtown is a microcosm of the growth and progress taking place throughout the city. Last year was a record-setting year for construction in the city – we exceeded previously-set records in building permits, dwelling units and overall construction value.
Progress doesn´t happen without collaboration and consensus building – at all levels of leadership. Last month the legislative session kicked off in full force. This month provides a number of opportunities to connect with area legislators, including our annual trek to Pierre as part of Sioux Falls Day at the Legislature. I encourage you to take advantage of the events we sponsor to interact with your local legislators and discuss issues that are important to you. Look at the calendar on page 7 of this issue for more details about upcoming Chamber events.
You don´t have to be involved to be informed, however. Your Chamber regularly communicates activities at the state level in our weekly email The Chamber Advocate. During the legislative session, we also monitor a number of bills that affect the business community and tie into our legislative platform. The Legislative Bill Tracker is updated weekly and can be found at siouxfallschamber.com under the Advocacy tab, along with our platform and policy statements. You can also follow issues on social media as they happen from the Chamber´s advocacy-specific Twitter handle, @SFAreaAdvocate.
Looking beyond the legislative session, your Chamber is also actively involved and at the table on a number of hot button issues – from updates to interstate interchanges to proposed pipelines in our region. We discuss these issues at the committee and board leadership levels. Our role is to provide input and to serve as a resource for our members. Later this spring voters within the Sioux Falls School District will have an election for two seats on the School Board and the school start date. We will provide opportunities for you to learn more about the candidates and this issue in order to be informed voters.
Last month Market Street Services was in Sioux Falls to conduct several interviews and focus groups as part of our process to create a workforce strategy. We´re seeking tactics that tackle both short-term and long-term workforce needs. Thank you to all who participated in the process. Your input will help shape this plan, which will be developed over the next few months.