Spotlight on Sioux Falls Martin Dill

605 Spotlight // Martin Dill

written by Gabby Sudenga + photos by Cailyn Patterson

Part of this article has been shared from 605 Magazine. Click here for the full article. 

In the heart of Sioux Falls, there exists a vibrant hub of culture, commerce, and community—downtown Sioux Falls. Amidst the bustling streets and businesses is Martin Dill and his team of red shirts known as the Downtown Sioux Falls Ambassadors.

“We do everything that makes downtown Sioux Falls safe, sanitary, interesting, and beautiful,” stated Dill, operations manager for Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. and Block by Block.

From watering flowers to chatting with visitors and locals alike, the ambassadors help make downtown a desirable place to visit.

“We want to be engaging, ask people how they’re doing, and help direct them to where they want to go,” explained Dill.

The outreach of the Ambassadors extends beyond tourists and residents, to businesses and shop owners as well.

“We want our business owners to know that we’re not only here to help, but that we’re accessible,” shared Dill. “If something outside of their storefront needs attention, they can let us know.”

Though some days, their duties aren’t glamorous. It comes with cleaning up trash, dog waste, and occasionally graffiti.

“We do a little bit of everything,” added Dill.

The Ambassadors also help those in need, such as the unhoused, by connecting them to resources in town.

“As far as our outreach goes, it has changed since I started two and a half years ago,” said Dill. “We now have a couple of options to help the unhoused receive the help they need.”

“our staff is trained for the safety of their well-being.” -martin dill

Dill and his team have previously transported residents to Bishop Dudley Hospitality House or The Link. In more dire cases, the ambassadors call for medical assistance to aid their efforts.

In other cases, Dill found that a simple conversation could be just as beneficial.

“I always encourage my employees to sit down and talk to the unhoused individuals,” stated Dill. “Find out who they are, where they’re from, see how their day is going, just talk to them. Sometimes that’s all they need.”

Safety for everyone in the community is at the forefront of an Ambassador’s role. Safety Ambassadors patrol bike trails along the river, underneath bridges, Falls Park, and Phillips Avenue.

“This past summer, one of my employees brought a case of water to the unhoused under the bridge when it was over
100 degrees out. That’s what we do,” reminisced Dill. “Our goal is to always approach them in a non-adversarial way.”

The Ambassadors are always there to lend a hand and enhance downtown for any occasion.

As the winter season approaches, Dill and his team are gearing up to wrap downtown Sioux Falls in holiday cheer.

Twinkling lights and garland will decorate Phillips Avenue. Dill and his team work in a hydraulic lift to wrap the vintage light poles and trees along the bustling street.

“There’s something so cheerful about the lights,” said Dill. “It’s a lot of fun to set up and it’s more fun seeing how excited people get about the Christmas lights, because it really is.”

A fan-favorite attraction will also reappear this holiday season.

“We set up a photo opportunity that’s great for kids, filled with light-up candy canes, presents, and a snowman photo stand-in,” said Dill. “We got a ton of play out of it. The second it was up, people were immediately interested.”

He added that the Sioux Falls community should stay tuned as a new light display will be featured this year that is unlike anything else in South Dakota.

For years, strolling through downtown to view the lights has become a tradition for visitors and residents. Dill and his team have become an important asset to their traditions.

“I love being a part of their traditions, but my favorite part of being an asset to their tradition would be the hydraulic lift,” Dill said with a chuckle.

For the full article from 605 Magazine, click here.

October 31, 2023