We took the opportunity to sit down with Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether on this beautiful spring day, to talk about our great city, the coming of summer, and plans for the future. Before we get going in the article, let me take a second and just say, WOW! You get the opportunity to see the mayor through the television or computer screen, or pictured on the Argus Leader, and he gives off an aura of positivity and excitement, but in person those attributes and more are magnified even further! You can feel his passion for Sioux Falls and the direction we are heading when you talk to him, but there is also a personable and genuine demeanor that reassures you, you’re not just another meeting in the day, but the focus of attention right now in this moment. I’ve enjoyed the last six years with Mayor Huether at the helm because of the direction he has led this city, but I appreciate him all the more after having a face-to-face discussion and getting to meet the person! Alright, I’m off my soap box, let’s get into the real reason you all clicked on the link, the interview!
This beautiful Sioux Falls spring weather is just one more indicator that the cold months are behind us, and summer is definitely on the way; are there any activities you look forward to doing in Sioux Falls every summer? You bet! There are 3 big things that I have loved doing in Sioux Falls every summer as mayor. The first one is the 4th of July Celebration. We’ve got the old fashioned parade and I run the entire route engaging as many folks as I can. We serve free lunch to upwards of 5,000 people and the patriotism and feeling of joy and community really makes it a special day. Secondly, Downtown Sioux Falls in the summertime is a magnificent atmosphere. In the past 6 years our Downtown has really come to life. There is a vibrant aura and it reflects what I consider the real heartbeat of Sioux Falls. Lastly I enjoy the sports tournaments that make their way to our great city. Whether it’s tennis, baseball, softball, soccer, or even frisbee-golf, there is always something to play in or cheer for. There is not a better tournament city in America than Sioux Falls.
Speaking of being outside and enjoying the beautiful Sioux Falls summer air, Sioux Falls has astonishing parks that offer a great venue to do just that. Back in 2013 TripAdvisor actually named Sioux Falls as one of the Top 25 City Park Systems in the Nation. Do you have a favorite park in Sioux Falls? Did you know there is a park within ½ mile of every residence in Sioux Falls? That is something we are really proud of. It has been our mission over the past 6 years to make sure each park is as nice as the rest, and we’ve dedicated tax dollars each year to make that a reality. The next park on the agenda is Van Epps. Our bike trail system and our parks are top notch too and just hopping in the summer. Oh yes, and don’t forget our Zoo and River Greenway.
Do you have a favorite ice cream treat? Oh boy, I love ice cream and it’s one of those things that I just have to try and overcome the urge sometimes. Neapolitan with the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla is always a treat. Ice cream is even better topped with whipped cream and nuts!
Summer also offers the chance to get out and play some tennis! Do you spend all winter chomping at the bit to get out and play competitive matches in the summer time? Well now folks can play during the cold winter months at the Huether Family Match Pointe Tennis Facility, and I have taken full advantage of it. I feel good about my game right now and really look forward to competing outdoors, especially in league matches and tournaments, on a bevy of great tennis courts.
In the past 6 years we’ve seen a dramatic change in the Sioux Falls landscape with new additions like the Sanford Premier Center, the River Greenway, that whole sports complex by the airport with the Huether Family Matche Pointe Tennis Facility, the Scheels’ Ice Plex, the Sanford Pentagon and Field House, and the new Midco Aquatic Center opens this fall! There should be something for everyone to do! There really is no excuse for anyone not to have something to do on a summer day in Sioux Falls. With free events and paid events, there is always something going on. Investing in quality of life projects has been a priority over the past 6 years and our citizens and visitors to Sioux Falls will reap the rewards for generations. As your mayor, I don’t necessarily go to events for the specific act or show that is going on. I appreciate the spirit of the gathering and the energy of all of the people that are there and I try to engage as many of them as I can.
We’ve spoken quite a bit about the “Last 6 Years,” what is something you want to tackle for Sioux Falls in the final 2 years of your term as mayor? We’ve been talking quite a bit about parks this morning and one big thing I want to help lead before I leave office is to make our parks “Tobacco Free.” My dad died at the age of 62 from smoking and I don’t want anyone to have to go through losing their dad, husband, or grandfather for that same reason. I’m sure this isn’t going to be the most popular stance with some people, but I think it’s an important cause for our City and for the future of our children. The effort will be well worth it.
I have three little kiddos that have issues with asthma, so we’ve experienced having to leave a park because complications caused by someone’s stray vapors. That would be a welcomed change for my family!
Well Mayor Huether that is all of the questions I had for you today, I appreciate your candor and the discussion that we were able to have. When I contacted your secretary I didn’t anticipate getting the chance to sit down with you face to face to do this interview, so I truly appreciate you carving out a few minutes to meet with me and talk about these things. It has been my pleasure Josh. I never tire of talking about the great things going on in Sioux Falls. Make it a great day!