Project NICE/KEEP Neighborhood Cleanup

Each year the Environmental Section of the Sioux Falls Health Department receives approximately 1,800 calls and referrals from citizens concerned about neighborhood environmental nuisance issues in various parts of the city. Other city departments handling code enforcement issues have significant numbers of calls regarding other code violations as well. Approximately 30 years ago, the city noticed an increase in the number of nuisance issues addressed each year, so a proactive approach to reduce or at least limit the increase was implemented. The city developed a project called NICE (Neighborhood Improvement Complaint Easement) that would identify specific neighborhoods at risk of nuisance concerns and assist the neighborhoods to address those concerns. A few years later, the city developed a similar project called KEEP (Keep Environmental Enhancement Permanent) to work in conjunction with the NICE program.

Each year these neighborhoods, designated as the NICE and KEEP areas, get a helping hand in the form of a cleanup by city employees working as volunteers. In addition, these neighborhoods receive educational materials about the city and its services. Through the implementation of these projects, the city has been able to keep the number of neighborhood nuisance cases static despite an increase in Sioux Falls’ population since its inception. 

These projects are affordable to offer only because they focus on helping residents and are not meant to assist businesses or take the place of routine disposal costs. The debris the city removes from the curb should only be what has been owned and discarded from the resident at that address and should not contain household garbage, animal waste, hazardous materials, electronics or create a greater cleanup effort than was previously there. Keeping recyclable items such as tires, appliances, branches and mattresses in separate piles will assist the crews with removal. 

Overall, the projects have been extremely successful in meeting the goal of keeping neighborhoods healthier and safer as well as helping to improve property values. The city has a goal to provide citizens fair and equitable access to these programs while simultaneously achieving the goal of maintaining or improving the environmental condition of neighborhoods in Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls is a great place to live and the organizers and staff of Project NICE and KEEP look forward to helping to keep it that way.