Jacobson Plaza Ice Ribbon project delayed in Sioux Falls as costs rise

The cost of building the new Jacobson Plaza south of Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls is expected to increase by 20-25%, and the park’s opening schedule is now set for late fall 2023.

That’s according to Parks Superintendent Don Kearney’s latest report, presented at the city council briefing on Tuesday evening. Previously, the park was scheduled to open this winter.

Kearney said what has changed is that the group working on the park has increased the ribbon of ice from 12,000 to 14,000 square feet, new parking and drop-off options, additional building footprints for a café courtyard, expanded common areas and experiential equipment for lighting, sound and architectural features.

Continued:Proposed addition to Falls Park would include ice skating ribbon, all-inclusive playground

Donors will increase their contributions to $5.5 million to help fund the project’s rising costs, Kearney said. The Sioux Falls Parks Foundation has received a $2 million investment from Garry and Dianne Jacobson matched by the city for the project initially.

Artist's rendering of the Jacobson Plaza project in Falls Park

The revised project will produce a better experience, a longer stay and increase revenue and footfall, thereby increasing downtown economic activity, Kearney said.

Revising the project ultimately reduces phases, construction costs and disruptions, Kearney said, and it will complete the project while adjacent projects are also under construction.

To prepare for this park, the project and the new Ribbon Ice concept, Kearney and Senior Manager Jon Jacobson explained that they took inspiration from other outdoor ice and universal play projects in the area.

Continued:A beer garden and zip lines? Design firm shows big ideas for Falls Park masterplan

Kearney and Jacobson size the Ribbon of Ice based on previous examples from Green Bay, Wisconsin; Spokane, Washington; South Bend, Indiana; and Maple Grove, Minnesota. They also researched and visited inclusive playgrounds and service providers, and consulted with the designers behind Bryant Park in New York.

The planned construction area for Jacobson Plaza in Falls Park

Options for using the square in the summer include in-line skating and other wheeled sports, and even turning it into a miniature golf course, Kearney said.

Councilor Rick Kiley asked if the project leaders would consider an additional environmental study, as he said the west side of the falls was once used as a landfill originally.

Continued:Sioux Falls prepares to sketch downtown’s next decade

“There is absolutely a need for additional studies to make sure we can do this right, and that there are no environmental issues down the road for anyone,” Kiley said.

Councilor Marshall Selberg said the project had “got some great feedback as it went along” and he’d heard some “oohs and ahs” about the Ice Ribbon.

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