Good advice from Sioux Falls

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Good afternoon,

Few of us operate online only business news sites. Business news remains a print-centric world thanks to local business journals that have typically fared better than newspapers that fell off the “digital cliff.”

As far as I can tell, the only other business site among the 200+ members of the Local Independent News Publishers (LION) members is operated by Jodi Schwan, who heads thriving Sioux Falls Business. Delaware Business Now is the other business site on LION’s roster.

Jodi, a former print business editor with television and government experience, launched the venture as Gannett made the short-sighted decision to eliminate business desks at papers that included the News Journaland its Sioux Falls counterpart.

A thriving Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls Businessis plugged into a thriving business market and offers breaking news on openings, closings and trends.

South Dakota and Delaware were the first out of the gate in dropping caps on interest rates. South Dakota went on to do a better job in preserving a low-tax environment that kept the party going.

Citibank has a substantial presence in Sioux Falls and a diverse economy has led to a population gain of 63,000 since 2000 in the prairie and river town in Minnehaha County.

The other day,Schwan offered a cautionary tale the other day after taking note of a Wall Street Journal story on Apex, NC. Click here to read her column.

The city in North Carolina’s booming Research Triangle is now listed as the nation’s fastest growing suburb and has been rated as the best place to live, an honor that went to Sioux Falls as the ‘90s banking boom sent the economy into overdrive.

Left turns tough in Apex, NC

Apex is paying the price for its popularity with traffic congestion, higher taxes and parking problems downtown. The mayor put it best by noting that it is tough to make a left turn.

Jodie cautions that Sioux Falls is paying the price for its success in the form of higher housing prices for new homes despite the ample supply of prairie.

Nearly every state has an Apex and in Delaware that community is Middletown. New schools (bolstered by Delaware’s ancient education funding formula and impact fees from new homes), as well as reasonable prices for newer homes (by East Coast standards), have led toboom times.

Good times and sprawl in Middletown

The town also landed the massive Amazon Fulfillment Center and new plants for Johnson Controls and most recently Swiss health care supplier Datwyler.

The price paid comes in the form of sprawl. Backups on Broad Street (downtown) and other thoroughfares are common.

Walkable communities are emerging, but catch-up efforts are under way to provide the sidewalks, parks, libraries, etc. demanded by residents.

Maryland officials have been known to point to Middletown as an example of the perils of sprawl. That does not sit well with long-time Mayor Ken Branner, who championed the growth strategy.

Turning back to Sioux Falls, Schwan says an emphasis needs to continue on improving existing neighborhoods in the city and taking a hard look at long-term planning that includes trails and other amenities that many grouches will dislike.

The goal is toattract younger residents who will otherwise head to the outer suburbs and experience the problems seen in Apex or in our case Middletown.

It’s good advice that thriving and stagnant areas of Delaware should follow.

Enjoy the nice summer weather if you get a chance.

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