De Smet Master Planning

De Smet, SD | Public Works


Known for its frontier heritage and outdoor recreational activities, the De Smet Development Corporation enlisted ISG to develop a revitalization plan to attract visitors, improve quality of life for residents, enhance the downtown and recreational experience, and connect the downtown corridor to the nearby amenities through strategic public and private investment.


Recognizing the potential for a frontier-inspired destination and a welcoming downtown area and parks system, the De Smet Development Corporation seized the opportunity to partner with ISG and create a vision that would improve the community and visitor experience.


ISG provided the expertise of driven professionals to design a downtown and improved park system that attracts visitors and provides a welcoming experience. Efforts focused on new streetscaping designs and more accessible recreational opportunities to create a more vibrant and engaging downtown area with updated parks. ISG also created considerations as to how the downtown corridor and nearby amenities could be enhanced through strategic public and private investment. Through an inclusive community engagement process, ISG collaborated with residents and the De Smet Design Task Force to positively influence the project design and ensure goals were achieved for the community and visitors.

Surrounded by Lake Thompson, several campgrounds, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant grounds, De Smet is in an ideal location for visitors to enjoy recreational activities and ISG designed the master plan to be considerate of the safety and accessibility of pedestrians. These amenities, along with the pioneering history of well-known author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, brings visitors to the area, and the revitalization plan draws visitors to enjoy downtown offerings as well. Enhancing the recreational opportunities, ISG developed a master plan to improve the parks system as well as add amenities onto the parks and increase walkability. By embracing De Smet’s unique heritage and ideal location on the prairie, ISG included imagery such as wagon wheel bike racks, public art, and lighting fixtures in the shape of covered wagons, as well as wayfinding signage making it easy to visit nearby amenities. These details amplify the pioneer-inspired history of De Smet through meaningful design.

Through listening sessions, community-wide presentations, and engagement opportunities, ISG worked with businesses and residents to ensure all viewpoints were heard and included. Participants were active and provided feedback throughout the design process to confirm that the design met their needs. Design ideas from the community that were included are incorporation of local art and native vegetation, improved trail networks to points of interest, an interactive water feature, and streetscaping components that aligned with their pioneering heritage. Residents positively influenced the downtown and parks revitalization plan and contributed to the quality-of-life improvements within their community.

Visualization tools and drawings provided a realistic view of the concepts and designs for the new downtown area and park improvements. The sketches allowed the community and the task force to give direct input on what aspects were valued and identify areas for improvement. These images brought the community’s ideas to life and gave the people of De Smet a preview of a revitalized and welcoming downtown corridor and parks system.

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