What Sets Yankton Apart From Others?

What Sets Yankton Apart From Others? Main Photo

3 Feb 2020

BY NANCY WENANDE: CEO of Yankton Area Progressive Growth


This year sure has started off with a bang! The cold and snow certainly aren’t helping shatter the perception people have of South Dakota being so frigid in the winter. We all recognize that South Dakota has an image problem to people outside of the Midwest. People don’t expect us to be modernized, cutting edge, and progressive. They think we are still living in the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder. (I will give a quick shout-out to the De Smet community who is doing a great job promoting frontier heritage.)

Mid-size and small Midwestern communities are more alike than different. We struggle with affordable housing, growing our workforce, and the perception of becoming retirement communities. Anyone who lives in Yankton probably relates to having heard those comments a time or two. So, when people are looking to relocate, why would they choose Yankton instead of somewhere else in South Dakota? What do we have that sets us apart?

First, our educational opportunities in Yankton are top-notch. We have RTEC (Regional Technical Education Center) which provides vocational training for those who may not want to go to college and would rather enhance their skills to get a job locally. We have Mount Marty (soon to be University!) which brings a vibrancy to our town that only a higher educational institution can do. Their continued growth in enrollment, academics and facilities is going to propel our community to new heights. To complement those options, we have the Yankton School District and parochial schools. All are good options for your children.

You might not be aware, but there are several items that do set the Yankton School District apart from other school K-12 districts. Yankton has free preschool. That is certainly not common in South Dakota and gives our children a better start to their education. Yankton has in-town busing. This has reduced the stress some parents encounter as they work varied shifts in manufacturing, retail or healthcare. Yankton has a Boys & Girls Club. The Club offers a safe option for kids all day during the summer and before/after during the school year. YSD also has a robust internship program for seniors to connect with local business to experience various types of jobs. Yankton has been the role model for the state with our collaborative internships.

Second, Yankton offers diverse recreational opportunities. From fishing to hunting and hiking to biking, we have something to offer during every season. And it’s not just outdoor activities, we have archery tag, bowling and soon-to-be axe throwing in Yankton. There is something to keep you busy every night of the week (if you choose to be that busy)!

Third, Yankton has history. Communities would love to have our historical buildings and stories that accompany them. The Meridian Bridge might be the most visible architectural structure in Yankton, but you can also include beautifully renovated homes, significant buildings in the downtown, the former Yankton College Campus, Sacred Heart Monastery, and of course, the Mead Cultural Education Center.

Lastly, Yankton has a sense of community that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. Sure, we have our occasional conflicts, but in times of need we all know how to pull together. We have a strong non-profit support network and find ways to get things done.

I’m sure while you are reading this you came up with ideas of your own what makes Yankton unique and the best place to live in South Dakota. I welcome you to share those thoughts on social media and with visitors to our town. We need to continually show our community pride and thank others for coming to Yankton. That genuine appreciation visitors feel when you thank them for spending time with us is a lasting impression that might help them make Yankton their new home.

Thanks for caring about Yankton and working to make our great city even better. I welcome the opportunity to come and speak to any of your service/social groups about YAPG and how we can collaborate to strengthen our community. Please contact me anytime at nancy@yanktonsd.com or 605-665-9011 ext 1 or stop into our office at the Chamber of Commerce building (803 E 4th Street). Together we are stronger.


Read the original article at the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan