My petitioning friends and I have 90 days to gather enough signatures to pause the Legislature’s bad ideas. Some civic brainstormers in Yankton have given themselves 100 days to come up with the next great idea for our first capital city.
Onward Yankton is a group of local boosters holding a 100-day contest to come up with the next Big Idea for Yankton. They invite anyone—really, anyone, not just Yanktonians, but anyone, from anywhere, in state or out—to submit brief (500 words max) proposals for some big thing Yankton could do in (from Onward Yankton’s opening press release) “tourism, recreation, education, history, the arts, entrepreneurship, health care, agriculture or any combination of the above.” The Onward Yankton Steering Committee will pick five finalists who will present their ideas to a public forum. The steering committee will listen, consult with the public, then pick a winner… who gets $10,000.
That’s pretty good pay just for thinking up one good idea!
The group launched this civic discussion with rallies on April 1 attended by 1,200 students and local leaders. Thinkers and dreamers can submit ideas through July 9.
Onward Yankton is posting ideas as they come in. Among the proposals so far:
- Promote a natural, chemical-free (I hear the comments coming now from the literalists in the room) Yankton with natural and recycled playgrounds, community gardens, increased bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, city-sponsored rummage swaps, and incentives for other green projects.
- Build a world-class skate park to draw competitions.
- Install free Wi-Fi citywide.
- Turn Yankton into the app capital of the world with free training for local residents in coding, marketing, and customer service.
- Build a riverside recreation resort for arts, athletics, and other big events (because dang it, when we come to Yankton on the shores of the beautiful Missouri for a big event, we shouldn’t be stuck out at some motel with a view of nothing Wal-Mart or the stockyards).
- Open a new high school focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math.
- Beef up the sewer system.
- Start a non-denominational Christian high school.
- Run a tourist train from Lewis and Clark Lake, through Yankton, all the way to Vermillion, complete with dining car and a caboose bar.
- Revamp the struggling Yankton Mall into “The Plex at Broadway,” a residential, commercial, and community center.
- Erect a lookout tower on the river.
- Start a ski resort (in South Dakota’s banana belt?).
- Pay back some college costs for young Yanktonians who come back and settle in Yankton.
- Build a zoo!
Think you can come up with something better? Tell Onward Yankton, and take your shot at $10,000!