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Growing pains require enhanced communication

Slater Barr, President, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Sioux Falls, S.D. (KELO AM) - Growing pains—the inevitable stresses that accompany growth in families, neighborhoods or communities—bring us challenges that require special focus and increased communication.

It doesn’t just happen in Sioux Falls and our surrounding communities, but all across America when any area finds itself expanding rapidly as new homes, businesses and schools are built—and agreement on the location and scope of that growth leads to discussion.

We are seeing some of those challenges now in our area, as housing construction is booming and retail facilities consider locations in many of those growth areas. But the issue is really a “glass half full or glass half empty” viewpoint. Once we realize that rapid growth, while it ensures questions about traffic, infrastructure requirements and neighborhood changes, also brings new opportunity, increased convenience and more tax dollars for our community. The challenges of growth are also the benchmarks of success.  

Just as we tell our children that a little testing builds character, communities which weather the winds of change emerge stronger and better able to face the future. Those challenges sharpen us as a group and as individuals, especially when we step forward to help shape the solutions to the inevitable questions posed by growth.

The truth is that our community is NOT faced with the challenges of similar towns devastated by catastrophe—we’re just growing fast and seeing the results of that growth.These are the times when citizens need to be their very best, when people need to get involved and make their voices heard. The cohesion that keeps communities working together is not created by silent adherence to one viewpoint, but through conversation and information exchange, through an open discussion of the future. In every situation, in community development as well as everyday life, it’s not what happens that matters; it’s how you handle what happens. It’s time to rally around the reality of our growth here in Sioux Falls.

We need to make our voices heard, answer the questions that economic development raises and take the steps that bring us closer together as a community.