Who is calling the shots about the River Greenway project in Sioux Falls?

jms

Wanna improve the River Greenway? Bulldoze John Morrell’s.

I had an interesting conversation with a reporter yesterday about the River Greenway project, we compared notes and came to the same conclusion; the city doesn’t have a clue what they are doing yet. As you know, the city just recently took out bonds for several projects, one was for the River Greenway. The night the council voted on the appropriations they asked City Planning director Mike Cooper what the money will be spent on (over $5 million) he could only account for a pedestrian bridge and the demolition of an old RR bridge. When asked what the rest would be spent on he said, upgrades like park benches. $3 million dollars for park benches? Wow! In other words, Mr. Cooper doesn’t have a plan, or at least it hasn’t been handed to him yet . . .

This is where the story gets interesting, remember a few years back when the Chief Misleader, King Dave Munson had a closed door meeting with Cherapa Place developer Jeff Shisterschnitzel(sp)? Well, supposedly during that meeting a contract was drawn up, some things in that contract are well known;

          Jeff received over $50,000 from the city for an option to buy land next to Cherapa for a new Event Center

          Jeff received a $400,000 interest free loan from the city for help with developing Cherapa

          Tipping fees were waived at the city dump for waste from the ZIP feed demolition

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Boom! The sound of taxpayer’s heads make when they find out how much money the city is giving away to a private developer in the disguise of quality of life project.

But there is also some things in the contract that we don’t know about but have some suspicions;

          Did Jeff request the $750,000 pedestrian suspension bridge to be built over the river? Suspiciously being built right next to Cherapa?

          Is Jeff calling the shots on the other improvements of the Greenway and that is why Director Cooper could not answer the simple question?

Of course the last two are speculation, but wouldn’t it be great to see that contract and what was promised to a private developer? Gawd only knows.



14 comments ↓

#1 Warren Phear on 07.11.09 at 3:49 am

Jeff received over $50,000 from the city for an option to buy land next to Cherapa for a new Event Center

Jeff received a $400,000 interest free loan from the city for help with developing Cherapa

Tipping fees were waived at the city dump for waste from the ZIP feed demolition

~l3wis
****************

Interesting. So the city DOES have a vested interest in where our McArena will be located. The tipping fees at the landfill? $32.00 a ton. And the concrete that went into the 202 foot Zip Feed Mill walls was measured in feet, not inches. Thousands upon thousands of tons of the stuff. I remember reading back when they were preparing the implosion how much the building weighed. It was astronomically high. And we, the citizens of SF, waived tipping fees to another developer just so we might someday be able to purchase Jeff’s already sky high parcel of land?

Kermit must shake his head 24 hours a day.

#2 l3wis on 07.11.09 at 4:08 am

In defense of the tipping fees, I think most of the concrete was ground up and reused on Cherapa (that’s what I was told) but who knows.

#3 CarterFlyer on 07.11.09 at 10:28 am

This shows what a mistake we are having by putting the EC out by the Convention Center. We have already invested in the Downtown Location and how much we have invested in just plans for the Downtown site. If they want the River Greenway to look good, put something down there that will be a Hub for the whole Greenway Area. San Antonio has a successful Greenway/Riverweay, and that is because the city invested in their Downtown. So why don’t we invest 150 Million in our Downtown?

Sorry- I know this wasn’t an EC post!

#4 Sy on 07.11.09 at 6:35 pm

Carter’s right, but you are also neglecting the part of the deal where if the EC goes there, Schershlight sells the site back to the city for what he paid for it. Which is about $10 sf less than market value, even these days. So, the $50K is chump change for the improvement(s) that Cherapa brought in, notably exisitng surface parking.

There’s $35 mil in the pipe to pull the tracks, if they can get that done under budget, I’d be all for the city buying that site back and saying: “Eff it already, we’re building a 12K seat venue there, with another $10 mil into parking/access”. Take $10-20 mil and expand the CC and you are friggin’ set.

#5 Scott on 07.12.09 at 12:12 pm

You’ll never convince me that downtown is where that unneeded building should go, but the Scherslight deal is a perfect example of everything this city does wrong to enrich Munson’s pals. It constantly amazes me how the very same people that complain about the 1% of our national budget that goes to welfare while basing their entire living on corporate handouts from the city, state, and country.

#6 Sy on 07.12.09 at 7:25 pm

That’s all fine and good, but Shershlight basically took that property off the market for a decade, if he was all about the quick buck he would’ve demanded much more for doing so, that’s what developers do. That’s not his business.

Also consider there were many who thought the Arena was too big, extravagent and unneeded when it was built during the 1960-61 Recession, and it was built to hold 10% of our population at the time. We may not “need” a new EC today, but it’s somewhat asinine to assume we wouldn’t utilize the facility over it’s 50+ year lifespan. Even in a down cycle the place would pay for itself and then some within a decade.

#7 Warren Phear on 07.13.09 at 4:57 am

Sy says:
July 12th, 2009 at 7:25 pm
That’s all fine and good, but Shershlight basically took that property off the market for a decade, if he was all about the quick buck he would’ve demanded much more for doing so, that’s what developers do.
*************

And WHY did he take it off the market Sy? Maybe the hush money and good ol boy anyics of city hall just MIGHT have had something to do with it?

From l3wis

– Jeff received over $50,000 from the city for an option to buy land next to Cherapa for a new Event Center

– Jeff received a $400,000 interest free loan from the city for help with developing Cherapa

– Tipping fees were waived at the city dump for waste from the ZIP feed demolition

#8 l3wis on 07.13.09 at 6:53 am

Sy-

If the city is getting such a sweet deal with the Cherapa contract, why didn’t they have the negotiations in public, like at an informational meeting so everyone could see the great deal the city was getting?

The only person putting honey on their toast over this contract is Jeff.

#9 Sy on 07.13.09 at 7:09 am

The City benefits long term from both the Zip tower demo and from the tracks removal. They had been trying for years to get someone from the private sector to take on the project and to develop that area, but the usual suspects wanted no part. Much easier to make hay with strip malls and cookie cutter housing tracts. Any City negotiation with a private entity should have it’s opportunity to be hashed out in private, until there is something to announce, otherwise it could’ve gotten torpedoed in the early phases by a person or group with a hidden agenda. Just because it was negotiated in private, doesn’t mean it was a bad deal.

Like I’ve been saying all along, an EC down there would transform the area like nothing else the City could do outside of a Vegas-type casino. It was smart of Munson to take the risk with Scherschlight, even thought the Task Force has their head stuck you know where and the downtown EC prolly won’t happen.

Plan B or C will also benefit the City over the long term as opposed to what was there. It will just take twice as long for the City to re-coup it’s investment as it would’ve with an EC.

#10 l3wis on 07.13.09 at 7:24 am

I don’t doubt that developing that area will benefit the city, that is obvious. I just don’t know why we have to give away the farm to Jeff in order to get those benefits. And I am vehemently opposed to a private developer TELLING the city what improvements will be made to the river greenway. That is up to the department heads and the governing body to decide what is best for SF not Jeff.

#11 Sy on 07.13.09 at 8:07 am

Trust me, the department heads and governing body have plenty of say in what a private landowner can & can’t do. They tell you how many trees to plant and whether or not to put slats in your fence to hide whatever it is you are fencing, for example.

I doubt Scherslight told anyone anything, not his style. He probably asked or made formal requests for certain items and they were granted. Probably made some that weren’t, again that is what a negotiation is. A pedestrian bridge would certainly benefit Cherapa, but it is also an improvment to the area overall as pedestrian & bike traffic will flow either direction.

#12 l3wis on 07.13.09 at 8:37 am

“I doubt Scherslight told anyone anything, not his style. He probably asked or made formal requests for certain items and they were granted. Probably made some that weren’t, again that is what a negotiation is.”

How do we know? It was behind closed doors. In fact Staggers has even said that the council was even left out of the loop (no surprise) in fact Munson tried to get the council to vote and approve it without showing them the details of it. Boy if that doesn’t make one suspicious? I’ve noticed that when Jeff talks about it publicly he plays coy. I don’t believe his act for a second.

“A pedestrian bridge would certainly benefit Cherapa, but it is also an improvment to the area overall as pedestrian & bike traffic will flow either direction.”

Agreed. But not at that location. In discussions about that bridge many councilors have asked ‘Why there?’ There is two bridges with sidewalks on them a half a block either direction. I think a better location for the bridge would be on top of the Falls or by where your company graciously put in that tile wall.

#13 Poly43 on 10.15.10 at 2:32 pm

Appears to me Mr White Collar just got snookered by blue collar Peska. LMFAO.

#14 l3wis on 10.15.10 at 9:51 pm

I loved it when Peska pulled the purchase agreement out of a plain manilla folder and threw it at him. Pretty much, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Jeff was bluffing and Peska called him out on it. I think the best part was doing it live on camera. While Yvonne Hawkins tried to figure out what the Hell was going on. What are her qualifications anyway. She seems lost.

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