How Sioux Falls Changed Into a Gem
Very few cities have large and spectacular features in the heart of their communities so that it makes sense to make Falls Park into the gem that it is. The most photographed feature in the Sioux Fall is also the most neglected. Early efforts have drawn a lot of attention to how Sioux Falls is being neglected but lots have been accomplished in the last 40 years.
People who are marveling at the way the Park Falls look now but have no idea how it was back then when it was used as a dump for refuse. There was disregard for the Big Sioux River, its tributaries and falls. The open areas became a salvage yard with car bodies everywhere some containing gasoline, oil, car batteries and all kinds of stuff. There were power lines running over the falls and the city barns just to the north included dump trucks and tow trucks.
Falls Park was a special place to John Royster since his boyhood and getting to work on the falls was a once in a lifetime opportunity. At first, he admits that he was taken aback by some of the plans for the falls particularly the visitor’s center in the observation tower but the view was really breathtaking.
The road that ran along the fall was removed and there was a deliberate move to make the park more pedestrian friendly. If people will get out of their cars, and walk together with their families, it will slow them down butthere will be more time to look around and see all the natural beauty in their surroundings.
Sioux quartzite stone pavers were embedded in the Sioux Falls streets to give it a timeless look so that visitors will feel as if they are in the 1930’s or 1940’s and the residents cared enough for the park. However, they didn’t and the responsibility fell on the 700,000 inhabitants who were living in the community to step up and make something glorious from the Falls Park.
So much was been accomplished in the last 40 years and it is expected that more can be done in the next 40 years particularly since it is a great part of the future.