New leader in Lennox plans for big year

April 17, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Minnehaha County and Lincoln County Economic Development Associations.

There’s a new city leader in Lennox with a vision to build on the community’s success.

Nathan Vander Plaats was appointed city administrator in late 2018.

We sat down with him to learn more about his plans to keep growing this city of more than 2,100 people.

What led you to your new role in Lennox? What attracted you to the job?

A variety of things, really. When I was considering my next career move, I went back to why I pursued a master’s in public administration in the first place: because I know that good government exists and that every community deserves to experience it. Good government is what can make the difference between a community that develops and a community that stagnates.

That ties into the second reason: Lennox presents such a unique opportunity to prepare for future growth. As we have watched communities around Sioux Falls benefit from their proximity to Sioux Falls, it is only natural to conclude that this same growth and development will eventually spread to Lennox. It is important for us to prepare for that shift now as opposed to reacting to it later.

What are some of your first impressions of the opportunities that exist in Lennox?

First and foremost is the nature of the community itself. Small towns attract families because they are safe and because they exhibit community values so well. That is something for us to celebrate and continue building as we have new families relocate to Lennox.

The second opportunity is in the area of infrastructure. Streets, water and sewer aren’t exactly exciting issues. That being said, infrastructure is the building block of a community; if your infrastructure isn’t in good shape, attracting business, families and other development becomes very difficult. In Lennox, we have a fair amount of aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced.

What do you see as the community’s niche? What sets it apart?

The first two things that come to mind are baseball and the Fourth of July! We have a fantastic baseball facility and will be hosting the Legion tournament in town this summer. When I first started working in Lennox, I was quickly told about the Fourth of July activities. I think it’s great that a town of 2,300 can hold such a big, community-minded event that attracts so many folks from outside of town. I’m told upwards of 10,000 people attend this event every year, and I can’t wait to welcome them this year.

I would add one special item that sets us apart: our amazing school system. When my family was considering the move to Lennox, one of our first visits was to the school to learn more about what they had to offer. A good school district is such a treasure for a small town, and to know that we have an active, engaged school board and a visionary superintendent made the decision to move here an easier decision.

What three words do you hope come to mind when people think of Lennox?

Community, family, opportunity.

What are your expectations for 2019? What kinds of things are happening in the community?

2019 is shaping up to be a very busy year for the community. We will begin construction on our new swimming pool in May, which will replace the 1950s-era swimming pool that has been out of service for a couple of years now. This will be a great opportunity for families in and around Lennox!

We will also begin the next phase of our central basin project, which will replace water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and streets in the central area of Lennox. This area is currently served by aging infrastructure, and this replacement will certainly serve residents of those neighborhoods well.

The school district will also be starting their next construction project this summer by beginning a new addition to the elementary school. As we continue to grow in population, we are lucky to have a school district that is preparing for what is to come.

Last but not least, we are actively pursuing residential development on the north side of town and just recently annexed the next phase in that project. Housing is at a premium in Lennox, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to add several new families to town.

What are some of your more long-range goals for the city?

In the long-term view, we need to position ourselves for the development that is coming, and that means managing our public infrastructure. Over the next 15 to 20 years, we will need to replace several miles of streets in town and look at innovative ways to solve other issues. We also need to ensure that these assets are on a maintenance and replacement schedule that proactively manages those assets. Ensuring that each block of each street has a maintenance and replacement schedule, and sticking to that schedule, will position us well for the future.

New reasons to visit Lennox: Country music, archery and a new diner

 

New leader in Lennox plans for big year

There’s a new city leader in Lennox with a vision to build on the community’s success.

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