Planning director Cooper to retire

Dec. 10, 2018

Mike Cooper, the director of planning and development services for the city of Sioux Falls, is planning to retire.

His 32-year career with the city will end in April 2019.

“Over the past 32-plus years, I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented and dedicated people who have helped accomplish a lot for our community,” Cooper said in a statement. “Anyone who’s been involved with public service knows that sometimes it can be very challenging but also very rewarding. History has shown that Sioux Falls will continue to prosper if we maintain a positive attitude that encourages us to solve problems and get things done. Serving as a city director has been a great experience, but now I feel like it’s the right time for me to step away and let someone else lead the planning and development services team. I look forward to continue providing the city my support through this transition period of selecting a new director.”

Cooper began his career with the city in 1986 as a senior planner. He moved through the ranks of the city, becoming assistant director of planning in 1990 before serving as director of parks and recreation in 1999. In 2005, Cooper returned to the planning department after being appointed director of planning and building services. In 2018, that department merged with the Community Development Department to create the Department of Planning and Development Services.

“Mike is the gold standard of a public servant,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “The people of Sioux Falls owe a debt of gratitude to Mike for his dedication to them and his efforts to make Sioux Falls an incredible community. I am thankful for Mike’s service to city and wish him and his family blessings as he transitions into retirement.”

During his tenure, Cooper amassed a long list of accomplishments. He was pivotal in the land donation and build-out of Arrowhead Park, Harmodon Park and several miles of the recreation trail system He brokered a deal with Xcel Energy to move its remaining utility lines from Falls Park to part of the former Sioux Falls Stockyards land. Cooper also facilitated the public-private partnership that led to the demolition of the Zip Feed Mill and subsequent development of downtown’s East Bank, which led to millions of dollars in private reinvestment into the city’s core. Under his leadership and tenure as planning director, the city has experienced consecutive years of record building permit growth.

The city will conduct a national talent search to fill the director role, which is appointed by the mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

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Planning director Cooper to retire

Mike Cooper, the director of planning and development services for the city of Sioux Falls, is planning to retire.

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