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OUR VIEW: While Sioux Falls grows, what about the rest of us?

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opinion Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
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OUR VIEW: While Sioux Falls grows, what about the rest of us?
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Between the 1900 and 2010 censuses, Sioux Falls’ population grew by an astonishing 1,400 percent.

During the same period, the rest of the state’s population grew by 69 percent.


In other words, Sioux Falls expanded at a rate 20 times faster than the rest of South Dakota.

The numbers verify what we can plainly see by driving around the state: Sioux Falls is doing phenomenally well, while many small towns are struggling.

That’s why we’re continually discouraged by the amount of economic help statewide officials arrange for Sioux Falls, oftentimes at the expense of other places.

Lately, the South Dakota High School Activities Association has angered many with what seems like a master plan to take state-level events away from smaller cities and move them to Sioux Falls. Mitchell, for example, was told that its new, multi-million-dollar soccer complex won’t be a preferred site for state tournaments in the future, simply because it has real grass instead of artificial turf. Some critics interpreted that and other, similar moves as a convenient way to send more tournaments eastward.

This week came news that the governor and the state Board of Education have approved the creation of an electrician training program at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, despite objections from Mitchell Technical Institute, which already has such a program.

Perhaps we’re just bitter, but we suspect Sioux Falls could somehow find the electricians it needs without duplicating and potentially harming an existing program in Mitchell. As we’ve seen throughout South Dakota’s history, the state’s largest city always finds ways to keep growing.

Meanwhile, the rest of us watch as our events, workers, families, shoppers and state government resources get sucked up by the vacuum that is Sioux Falls.

We wish Sioux Falls and its residents no ill. We only wish our state’s leaders would better recognize who needs help and who can get along fine without it.