OUR VIEW: Falls Park tragedy reveals need for city actionSioux Falls really deserves credit for the work it has done to resurrect the area. Now would be a good time, however, to investigate what can be done to avoid the next accidental drowning at Falls Park.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
The Big Sioux River claimed the lives of two heroes last week.
The sad situation unfolded when a young boy presumably fell into the river on a visit to Falls Park. It’s still unclear whether the boy fell in or simply disappeared from view. It’s also unclear — if he did indeed fall in — how he made his way back up onto the slippery rocks that skirt the river at that scenic location.
What is clear is that the boy’s teenage sister apparently jumped into the river to search for him. Another bystander went in to lend aid, too. The boy is safe, but that’s the only good news from this sad tale. The young girl and adult man gave their lives in this terrible mishap.
In the wake of such tragedies, hindsight tends to be razor sharp. Yet, without such focus, can future tragedies be avoided?
Falls Park is a beautiful spot, situated as it is near downtown Sioux Falls. Two decades ago, the area was run-down and a place where a visitor was more likely to find hoboes than a green place to enjoy a picnic.
Sioux Falls really deserves credit for the work it has done to resurrect the area. Now would be a good time, however, to investigate what can be done to avoid the next accidental drowning at Falls Park.
Are there enough guardrails in place to keep the public away from the river’s edge?
Are there enough floatation devices nearby to be used in the event someone falls into the river?
Is enough being done to ensure that people — and especially children — are not allowed onto those slippery rocks, which are so near that raging river’s foamy waters?
Falls Park is a beautiful location, and one of the few places in South Dakota where people can get up close to raging waters. In a mostly flat, generally dry state like ours, Falls Park is a rarity.
But something went wrong last week, and two people are dead because of it. Hindsight, as pesky and burdensome as it sometimes is, should be put to use this week as authorities in our largest city consider what can be done to prevent future tragedies at Falls Park.