Soapsuds Hollow: Dells handling growth well, steady pace makes change easier
July 17. 2013 1:41PM
Growth and change can be difficult to accept sometimes in sleepy little rural communities. Some towns grow and change, and some don't grow but still change.
Many of you might know about the current controversy over the proposed Wal-Mart at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue. Yes, that's right, 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue.
Many of us have seen Sioux Falls grow over the years, from the K-Mart at 37th Street and Minnesota Avenue to the Western Mall on 41st Street, to the Empire Mall on west 41st Street and beyond. It's hard to believe that the old airport terminal at Joe Foss (remember the old one?) has become the current facility, and the Coliseum is now the Arena, soon to be replaced by another new facility. It's hard to believe that 41st Street was the south end of Sioux Falls in the early 1970's, and that there was almost nothing west of I-29 on 41st.
Dell Rapids is fortunate to be so close to the regions' largest city. We have benefited, steadily growing at a healthy pace.
Sioux Falls has doubled since 1970, increasing from less than 80,000 at that time to just under 160,000 at the end of 2012. In the last ten years, the population of Sioux Falls has grown by 24,000 people. That would be like moving Brookings to Sioux Falls.
Dell Rapids has almost doubled in size since 1970. The population of Dell Rapids in 1970 was at 1,991, and the 2010 Census put Dell Rapids at 3,633. Our growing pains have been minor, really.
Talk about growing pains – consider the oil boom in Williston, N.D. Williston is about the size of Mitchell with about 15,000 residents in 2010, and was estimated at just over 18,000 for 2012. A recent study done by North Dakota State University estimates the population of Williston to be around 44,000 five years from now. Some locals up there with whom I have visited have said they think the population around Williston is way over 20,000 now, and some have said they think it will be 100,000 within about 3 years. That kind of growth hurts.
Dells has been able to stay on the map because we are so close to Sioux Falls, we have grown along with the times, and because we are so unique in many ways. The hills and many trees, the nice parks along the Big Sioux River, and the cool stone buildings downtown, charm many of my friends around South Dakota whom have visited Dell Rapids.
I suppose someday we will get our first stoplight, but I can wait for that. We're smart enough to negotiate a four-way-stop for at least a couple of more years.