Crooks mayor: ‘The town is truly taking control of its identity and future’

This piece is presented by the Minnehaha County Economic Development Association.

If location is everything, then Crooks has a lot going for it.

Strategically situated just northwest of Sioux Falls near a railroad and interstates, the community is anticipating a growth spurt.

Jamison Rounds

We caught up with Mayor Jamison Rounds to learn what’s new in this evolving town.

How is 2017 treating Crooks? What kind of activity are you seeing?

2017 is treating Crooks very well, and it is hard to keep up! We have seen the residential lots in Crooks Housing and Redevelopment Commission, or CHRC, land sell quickly, and we have approval by the CHRC to proceed with a community square development, with several businesses and organizations expressing interest in coming to town. We have reserved land on our park for a future wellness center and pool, and are completing a number of trail and community improvement projects. We are working on industrial park land acquisitions. We are also hosting several community events. In addition, Tri-Valley (School District) has purchased land for a school on the border of Crooks, which we expect to be transformative over the next five to 10 years.

Crooks has quite a bit of available industrial/commercial land. What kind of interest do you have from businesses coming to town?

Actually, we have a lot of potential industrial land but have had to wait for revenue from the CHRC land to be able to seriously look at acquiring and developing that land. We are there now and looking at best options to proceed. We were also limited for developable commercial (retail) land, but, again, with the CHRC land set to become the community square, we will finally have developable (build-ready) space available. That said, we have had interest from several businesses about locating here. One is quite certain, and others we are working with to look at how they best fit together. We are actively recruiting retail-type businesses and given our demographics would be a great location for health care-type businesses: clinic, dentist, eye care, etc., as well small-town retail and professional businesses.  Our dream, of course, is a local grocery or grocery-type business.

How’s your housing market? Are you sensing a demand for more residential options?

Our housing market is booming for a town our size. The challenge is developable land. Last fall, we opened up 29 lots, and I believe 14 are sold. We have very strong interest in senior-type housing and have been working with a few builders and several residents to construct something that meets their needs. We believe that the senior housing will occupy another five  to 10 lots, filling 10 to 20 units given the current inquiry level. That said, we have land that is sewer and utility ready and borders on our town square that we hope to move to see developed in the next few years. That could open up as much as another 160 or more acres for housing, parks and additional commercial space.

How would you describe Crooks as a community? Do you feel like its identity has been formed or is that still evolving?

Crooks remains a quiet, but active, family-friendly town. We have 145 kids in flag football and 260 kids in baseball, and I don’t know how many in other activities. Our motto is “Crooks: a great place to come home to!” and it is. We are growing, but as we grow, we are actually becoming more community-oriented and are working hard to develop and keep the small-town feel. As we add events, businesses, a city square and amenities, we are increasing the opportunities for even more social interaction that help newcomers to get to know their neighbors faster than ever.  As for its identity, the town is truly taking control of its identity and future. It is still forming, but we are seizing on keeping the small-town feel, even if Sioux Falls grows around us. We have several events that keep the community coming together, including the Ride for a Cure in May, Community Days and Rodeo in June, the Junker Jamboree in August, the Flag Football Bowl Games in October, the Craft Fair in November, the Crooks Christmas Market in December — the first of its kind in South Dakota. We are looking forward to bringing back the Make-A-Wish Crooks Christmas light show this winter.

You’ve got a good opportunity coming up this weekend for people to check out Crooks. Can you tell us more about the Junker Jamboree? 

The Junker Jamboree really blows us away. It is a type of swap meet, “maker” and “repurposer” fair all rolled into one. Attendance has skyrocketed each year and has filled our community center and its parking lot, and the land around it! It is a family-friendly event with music, food and vendor booths, with amazing and unique products and food that you don’t find every day. You can spend the day. As the founders, Shane Sutherland and Kelly Finke, put it: You can find “mantiques,” do-it-yourself decor and oddities from the seven seas! It will take place at the Community Center as you drive into town Aug. 19, from 9 to 4, and admission is free. Come to the event and see the development on the CHRC land and the improvements we are making to Sunset Park. By the 19th, we should have lights for flag football going up and covered bridges in place on the new walking and bike path.

Crooks mayor: ‘The town is truly taking control of its identity and future’

It has been a big year in Crooks, with new housing and more land opening up for development. Here’s what the mayor expects to happen next, plus details on a big event this weekend.

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