Downtown is about to get a whole lot better


Elizabeth Boysen

The construction of the Levitt shell is well underway and expected to be completed in time for summer concerts this year.

Elizabeth Boysen, Staff Writer

Downtown Sioux Falls is already one of the most popular places to go all year round, but especially in the summer months.

Now there will be another reason to spend summer evenings in the most lively part of the city. A new concert venue will be open for business this summer, hosting free concerts every week.

The Levitt Shell near Falls Park is currently under construction and expected to be completed this spring. The Levitt concert series that will be hosted there will kick off with a show in mid-June and be followed by about 30 other free concerts. The Levitt Shell is expected to host about 50 shows per season.

The cost of building the venue is budgeted at $4.6 million. The nonprofit that led the effort to bring the Levitt series to Sioux Falls, Friends of Levitt Shell, has invested more than $1.85 million toward the project, including a $500,000 grant from the national Levitt Foundation. The organization will also provide more $500,000 in professional lighting and sound equipment. Lloyd Companies chipped in with approximately 10,000 cubic yards of dirt and fill material valued at around $100,000. Everist has donated boulders and other landscaping material valued at approximately $250,000.

The design of the shell includes wave-like structures above the stage, meant to resemble the movement of the nearby Falls.

The lawn area where people will gather to watch the concerts is expected to hold up to 5,000 people and will include walkways that will feed into the existing trail system of the city.

In addition to providing design and site development, the city of Sioux Falls will retain ownership of the land and venue and provide maintenance to the site.

The Levitt Shell will be yet another downtown activity for the whole family to enjoy.