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Yankton Seeks Next Big Idea in 100-Day, $10K Contest

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 YanktonOnward 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:

Think you can come up with something better? Tell Onward Yankton, and take your shot at $10,000!


  1. mike from iowa 2015-04-14 06:25

    Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and move the whole shebang to Minnesota where your station in life is upgraded immediately and immensely. You’ll be appreciated as well. Wasn’t Minnesota home to the Yankton Sioux,as well?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-14 07:27

    You won’t win $10K with that one, Mike. Yankton’s a nice town—let’s make it grow!

    Wait—I’ve got the winner: kill all those darn river gnats!

  3. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-14 17:43

    So far I like the apps idea and the train plan best.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-14 17:45

    Yankton might have a better chance than Aberdeen for some enlivening since the former is on the river. I was just thinking about Medora, ND for summer activity. Yankton and Aberdabber might consider something along that line.

  5. Shane Gerlach 2015-04-17 11:04

    Thanks for covering this Cory. Donelle and I really enjoy this town. We chose to move here, we chose to have our child here. The city has stagnated in the almost 11 years we have lived here.

    These are the two ideas I have submitted. I would love your readers feedback (and yours).


    As always I am watching Cory. I may not comment as much as I used to as school, life, etc happen, but I am reading and enjoying. Keep up the great work.


  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-17 11:52

    Thanks, Shane! You know I love downtown. As I say under your full proposal, downtown is where you define your town in visitors’ imaginations.

    Rejuvenating downtown is much harder, of course, than a smartphone app to serve as a Yankton historical guide. The latter is a brilliant small idea! Good work, Shane!

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