New Growth Makes Housing a Priority in Tyndall

Posted on October 31, 2018

Paula Jensen
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Tyndall, South Dakota is on a roll.

This rural community of just under 1,100 people is seeing new growth in many areas, including an influx of new businesses, a beautiful new baseball field, a new 4-H building/community center and upgrades at the fire station and local park, among other things. Many of the improvements were made possible with the help of grants from the Hoch Foundation and The South Dakota Community Foundation.

With all of the new opportunities available in Tyndall, housing development has become an even bigger priority.

“It’s like a domino effect. When people see positive change, they want to be part of it, so they jump in and start something new too,” explains Ron Wagner, Chairperson of the Tyndall Development Corporation. “But without enough quality housing, we have people driving from 40 miles away just to work here. We need to concentrate on housing, whether it’s rehabilitating existing structures, building new homes, putting up townhomes or making more land available for housing development.”

Ron and his wife, Janet, have been active community leaders for years. Janet retired from teaching after 42 years and Ron owned the local car dealership for over 40 years. They have both worn many hats in the community, including those of volunteer ambulance drivers.

“As ambulance drivers, we have been in a lot of homes that people should not be living in,” explains Janet. “We are always looking for new housing solutions, and that led us to RuralX, where we were inspired by John Madsen from Stuart, Nebraska. We also began conversations with Mike Knutson of Dakota Resources and are learning about how to get involved there. We were blown away by RuralX and were so grateful to the South Dakota Community Foundation grant that allowed us to attend.”

Janet and Ron attended the RuralX “Housing Development” Knowledge Camp hosted by John Madsen and were so engaged by his information that they requested to hear from him again at OpenX.

“We would love to be able to copy what Stuart, Nebraska has done with housing development,” says Janet. “But we do have some good things happening here. One unique asset South Dakota does have is access to quality, affordable Governor’s houses. It gives us a good place to start.”

Currently, Tyndall Housing Development has purchased 13 acres of land just north of the swimming pool and park, with 14-16 lots planned for housing development. The City of Tyndall is putting in the infrastructure. There is also room for 2-4 new homes near Main street on some land where older homes have been removed.

Tyndall also formed the Tyndall Community Foundation and Tyndall Development received a $10,000 grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation to fund a housing survey.

“We hired a company out of Minnesota who will be coming here November 1 to do the survey and help us identify our housing needs so that we can really dig in and address the priorities,” says Ron. “They’ll be gathering information from residents, contractors, city leaders, apartment owners and business leaders and making recommendations.”

The longtime residents are quick to point out that there are many people involved in making Tyndall a great place to live.

“People here give with their hearts. There is a ton of wonderful support here in Tyndall, and that’s part of the reason we are seeing all the success. We are all in this together and there are so many people working behind the scenes.”

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