May 26, 2016: Smith, in what’s likely to be his last press conference as Community Development director, says city will not build a standalone ramp and instead will look for new partners to move forward with mixed-use parking facility.
Not only was it obvious to NOT build a standalone structure, I don’t think the administration had the votes on the council to get a standalone passed and built, especially with the current discussion about the new administration building.
Was the Washington Pavilion truly a building for the masses? And just how much public money would Sioux Falls pour into it? (referring to the rock concert of Collective Soul and the shaking balcony).
This really came down to one thing, poor engineering and design. A few years after the incident and the fix, Arturo Sandoval played the Pavilion, he had every person in that hall dancing on their feet to a sold out show. I looked over at my boss at the time (I was lead usher), Jeff Venekamp and said, “Are you thinking what I am thinking?” He was, if Arturo would have played the great hall before Collective Soul, how would the architects blame Rock & Roll for their bad designs? You know, because Cuban Jazz is hardly the devil 🙂
It wasn’t R & R at fault or even those evil Cubans. Which has been proven throughout the years.
Then there is the ‘funding’.
The annual contribution of about $1.5 million from the city’s entertainment tax – primarily for expenses such as maintenance and utilities – comprises just 20 percent of the Pavilion’s operating budget of $7.5 million, with the city also providing capital improvement funds as needed.
Okay, a little clarity. If you continue to read the article, you will see the Pavilion cost around $32 million to complete instead of the $20 million actually pitched to voters (actually it is over $50 million to date). The entertainment tax mentioned above was also supposed to go bye-bye after the bonds were paid off, you know, those BS sunshine clauses people always talk about. Didn’t happen, they continue to pile that money into the money trap it has become, with constant repairs and subsidies. Like a new roof on the Cinendome, the main roof, and hundreds of other ‘little fixes’ in the building. Their is also the millions from the CIP (2nd penny) for windows and malfunctioning sprinkler systems that ARE NOT part of the $1.5 million subsidy (you know, the reason why are water rates are going up). And of course this little tidbit, that always makes me chuckle, in a very dark way;
But it represents solid progress for the nonprofit Pavilion, which has been in the black six straight years after hitting rock bottom in 2009.
The Pavilion has never been in the black, let me repeat that THE PAVILION HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE BLACK! That’s like saying your lemonade stand made a profit after 3 people actually bought lemonade from you and your grand pappy bought your supplies (lemonade) and stand.
Same goes for the Events Center. A subsidy or a mortgage payment not tied into actual profitability, isn’t profit. No normal business runs that way. The money you take in should cover your expenses, or you are operating in the red. Doesn’t matter how much your uncle Bob gives you to stay afloat. In the real world, the Pavilion would have filed for bankruptcy years ago.
But there is still room for improvement, which makes Darrin’s job cut out for him.
Besides making the Visual Arts Center free again, the first thing President Smith needs to do is stop lying to the public, or at least tell us the truth about finances. Let’s face it, the Pavilion is an unprofitable organization that gets most of it’s funding from people who never use your facility. Invite them in, for FREE every once in awhile. And those elitists that use the place? Make them pay double.
While studying the city management salary increases over the past five years, we came across some interesting title changes. People were hop-scotching back and forth between the public works department and engineering. Not sure if this had to do with pay adjustments or what. It kind of looked like an accounting game.
Either way, there seems to be a discussion going on similar in the community development office. Will Darrin Smith have to be replaced or will restructuring of the department eliminate a Czar of community development?
With the new council rolling in, and the change of rules when appointing department heads (council must also approve the mayoral appointment of the director, no matter the size of the department). Could be interesting to see what kind of extra duties some of the other directors may have to take on to avoid a mayoral appointment.
Of course this wouldn’t be the first time the mayor would be playing hard and fast with the rules.
When I first got the text about 45 minutes ago, I busted up laughing. You know how the saying goes, and appointing Darrin as the next president of the Pavilion proves it, it’s WHO you know in this town, not WHAT you know.
In a press conference that just concluded at the Pavilion, the mayor introduced Darrin to the crowd. In some kind of strange irony, the podium was just below a phrase on the wall there for the Argus photography exhibit about freedom of the press, I had to chuckle even more.
It should be no surprise, Darrin has been an opportunist since he jumped on the scene of the city council several years ago, jumping from job to job when the going got rough, and getting out before the ship sank completely, at least his little dingy of a ship.
When he lost his mayoral bid, he quickly resigned from the city council never finishing his second term. When he saw an opportunity to work for Huether, he concocted a junket story about Kermit and hand fed it to Stormland news. Huether rewarded him with a job he knew nothing about, parking systems and community development. In one of his first meetings with the new staff he said to them, “Where do you get a cup of coffee downtown anyway, or eat?” I think they thought it was a joke. He was serious.
Once again, coming off the enormous failure of the Banks project, Smith is running for the hills again, with another promotion, to another job he doesn’t understand or is qualified for (of course, I don’t think any President of the Pavilion was qualified). I’m sure the tension between him and Mike is at an all time high. How could two salesmen fail so huge working together, they must have asked each other?
It will be fun (dreadful) to watch though. The Pavilion has been in meltdown ever since Gary Wood left. The only thing they have been successful at is siphoning money from the CIP to fix the awful reconstruction job that was done only 16 years ago and playing ‘tiddle-dee-winks’ with each other in down time. And it is costing us millions. Good thing we have increased water rates to pay for pipes, because the 2nd penny is all tied up in remodel projects at the Pavilion.
It will also be fun to watch the interaction between the Operations Manager, Jon Loos and Darrin. They will either be two peas in a pod, or come to blows, real quick. There is also probably a lot of butt hurt in current management in the building that wanted that job to, and how it must burn the position was handed over to a parking lot specialist who just happens to be the Mayor’s tennis partner. Like most things Darrin has done throughout his career, he will keep his head where he has had the most success, a place where the sun rarely shines.
I give him about 16-18 months.
UPDATE: There is another reason why this move is interesting. It is no secret that Darrin’s name has been mentioned as a candidate for mayor in 2018. Kind of hard to run for the position as a city employee. This will give him an opportunity to distant himself from his current job when or if he decides to run.
UPDATE 2: It is also ironic that the Board of Trustees who picked Smith are appointed by the mayor (two members). Guess what else? Darrin was the city’s contact with the Pavilion.
The city said Thursday that private investors have backed out of a planned $40 million downtown project that would have included loft apartments, retail and a boutique hotel.
“The hotel and apartment folks have informed us recently that it’s not financially feasible for them to continue,” Sioux Falls Community Development Director Darrin Smith said.
So why in the Hell would we move forward on a $10 million dollar parking ramp without a leasing tenant? Wait until we get an interested party, then build the ramp. Or better yet, don’t build a ramp at all and let private development take care of private development, and tax dollars take care of citizen projects, like maintaining the roads.
Mike and Darrin have this great desire to spend tax money on unneeded projects. The new council is probably going to be working with smoking brakes until the end of Mike’s term.
While Director of Parking and TIF’s, Darrin Smithe was being interviewed by KSFY about the Banks Project, he conducted the interview in fronte of the tennis centere. I was surprised there were vehicles parked in their parking lot and people actually using the facility. I wonder if Darrin broke his rackete again after another failed matche against his boss?
Come to the news conference to learn more about the Washington Square project and how City officials are proposing to support the project.
As I have said in the past, I was opposed to the massive TIF requested for this project, but I wouldn’t be opposed to something scaled back, like a low interest community development loan, financial assistance with cleaning up the alley and upgrading infrastructure in that part of Downtown, even some kind of lease agreement with the city on parking. But a large TIF for condos doesn’t float my boat.
Funny how the commission gets to see this presentation before the council – or at least I can’t recall the council getting the presentation yet?
Darrin explains TIFs before the new TIF presentation. While he is correct that TIFs don’t cost taxpayers up front (even though we are footing the bill to administer them) we are losing property tax revenue for several years. Basically the developers are paying themselves property taxes and using the money to pay for the development.
Last week I posted about how our current mayor could pull off running a 3rd term. He had two options on the table, he could somehow convince the Charter Revision Commission (which currently has NO members) to introduce it on the ballot, then convince the voters to approve it, OR he could have a fill-in for 4 years then run again after that.
Well the second part sparked quite a few speculators as to who could be that fill-in, or at least, who was asked.
The possible prospects who are serious about running for mayor could be anyone of these folks;
Rick Knobe, Michelle Erpenbach, Dean Karsky, Darrin Smith and possibly even Greg Jamison.
But one name kept popping up last week like the popping sound of a loud piped Harley, Jim Entenman.
I find it odd that Jim would even consider it, first off, the mayor just can’t leave for a month to Mexico in the middle of the winter, well of course GW Bush was always on vacation while president, so maybe he can. Jim also didn’t run for a second term as councilor wanting to get back to transitioning his family business. He’s a busy man, running a mega-motorcycle empire in Sioux Falls is a tough job.
Do I think Jim was asked to run? Sure. Do I think he will run? Not a chance.
City officials announced that Fairway Suites will develop a hotel on the southeast side of Elmwood Golf Course.
The City and Fairway Suites will begin negotiations on a lease agreement for the proposed site. A final agreement would then need to be approved before a project could proceed.
“We are very pleased to be working with the City of Sioux Falls to develop a hotel on the Elmwood site,” says Brian Burton, Chief Operating Officer for Fairway Suites, LLC. “With the opening of the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and efforts focused on the redevelopment of the surrounding area, we feel that the long-term outlook for the location is very promising.”
While I am not opposed to leasing the land to the hotel, the city in no way shape or form be involved with subsidizing or building this facility. The city should not be in the business of providing lodging. We have already given away millions (TIFs & River Greenway bulk head) to the DT Hilton. This a prime example of why hand-out Mike and his team (Smith) need to go.