Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

UPDATE II: These are the kind of things Grand Juries investigate

UPDATE II: Daren is sooooo awesome and cool.

The AL reported last night that Ketchum was in negotiations with Legacy since April. Should this be any surprise? Let’s look at previous employees that pulled this;

Erica Beck left the planning office of the city after being forced to write the Sanford Sports Complex Mega-Tif that had nothing to do with blight, setting a precedent moving forward with TIFs. Beck was at least smart enough to bounce around at a couple of little known non-profit agencies before landing at Lloyd Companies. She did a full circle and returned to the city.

Kendra Siemonsma who was the project manager for the Events Center and the Midco Aquatic Center suddenly quit the city and went to work for Midco right after inking the sponsorship deal with them (which included two very ugly signs in Spellerberg Park advertising a Cable Company that has a virtual monopoly in Sioux Falls). Ironically, she is no longer with Midco, and works for Sanford now.

Kevin Smith (who I believe was forced to resign from the city after taking a demotion) took a job with AE2S who does consulting for the city.

While there isn’t much the city can do legally to stop the parking ramp from being built (the bonds have already been sold). They can refuse to do anymore PPPs with Legacy over the next two years as long as Ketchum is VP.  We’ll be watching.

Well, we have known it for a long time, Developers run our city and it’s planning office and it couldn’t get more blatantly obvious;

Daren Ketcham, the former Sioux Falls city official who was paramount in picking Legacy Developments to lead a $50 million parking ramp project in downtown Sioux Falls, began his role as vice president with that same company Monday.

UPDATE: This couldn’t get any richer;

Ketcham won’t be working on one of Legacy’s largest projects, however. The company is involved in the Village on the River mixed-use development under construction along 10th Street east of Phillips Avenue.

The city’s conflict-of-interest ordinance prohibits Ketcham from representing Legacy before the city or any public body for two years involving any project he worked on while employed there.

“It shouldn’t be an issue,” said Drake

LMAO. I’m sure he won’t be asked ANY questions behind closed corporate board room doors about the project. Hey Norm, I’m pretty sure the ‘conflict of interest’ refers to employment as well.

Besides the obvious conflict of interest of going to work immediately for Legacy after just handing them a $20 million dollar parking ramp with taxpayer money, some are questioning what Mayor TenHaken was told, when he was told it, and what he told us. The story goes that when Ketchum handed in his resignation he said who he was going to work for, or at least said it was a major developer in town. After that, he was NOT allowed access to any city computers/data, etc. Big whoop. Who knows what he took on thumb drives before his announcement. But according to the mayor’s office, Ketchum said he wouldn’t go to work for his new employer until late summer/early fall, after finishing up some Guard duties. So was Ketchum completely honest with Paul and his intentions and Paul wasn’t giving it to us straight? I don’t know. My guess is that both of them stretched the truth a bit.

The Erica Beck deal after just working for Lloyd Companies is just as shady. Supposedly she signed some kind of ‘financial disclosure’ yet I have not seen the document, and if it exists, it needs to be for public display on the city website. It should also include at least a 24 month waiting period before she can go back to work for any developer doing business with taxpayers after she quits the city (such as TIF’s or public/private partnerships).

I think it is time a Grand Jury get involved with investigating the DT parking ramp with Legacy. I also think that if TenHaken had at least one ounce of integrity, he would use his power to put the project on HOLD until the rats can be ferreted out.

This wreaks of corruption!

Falls Park, June 21, 2018

We should have negotiated RR quiet zones Downtown

Rapid City is showing they have a lot more vision than Sioux Falls by proposing quiet zones Downtown;

The city’s railroad quiet zone task force will meet next week to discuss funding for the project. A final report is expected within the next two months.

City officials will need to file a notice of intent with the Federal Railroad Administration and railroad companies once a quiet zone option is approved.

Harrington said Rapid City would be the first town or city in the state to implement a railroad quiet zone policy should it move forward.

As I have stated numerous times, the RR Redevelopment Project in DTSF was one of the worst negotiated projects in the history of the city. Besides the fact that we probably bought land from the RR that we probably already owned (Federal easements) we did nothing to limit train traffic DT or at least limit the noise. Of the millions we handed over to the RR for basically $62 a square foot dirty land, we didn’t have the vision to set aside some money to create quiet zones downtown. This SHOULD have been a part of the deal.

DECIBAL PROBLEM STILL OCCURRING DOWNTOWN

I was surprised to see the problems are still around;

Neitzert said he may wait to see if the ICON has any issues throughout the summer and in the meantime, slow the tempo on composing a new ordinance, but still thinks downtown maybe eventually need to change its key.

“It does seem like downtown needs something different, because the noise ordinance is written really well for other areas that aren’t mixed use, neighborhoods that are all residential,” Neitzert said. “But again the question is, what is the something?”

Ironically its airplanes, trains and first responders that cause the most noise, the decibel level does need to change downtown, funny how this stuff gets killed without little explanation. Kind of like moving public input without an informal public meeting about it. I had the opportunity to go inside one of the bigger condos in the building. While this one did not have a west side patio, it did have several west side windows. I was there for about an hour and the only sound I could hear from outside was a faint police car siren that was driving past the coliseum, but it was so faint you would not even notice it. I’m thinking having the patios on the west side are what may be causing some of the noise issues. My suggestion? Close you patio door.

Train Tankers Continue to be stored in DTSF

I counted 14 tankers today labeled as ‘Bio Engery’ (probably ethanol) parked only 100 feet from a kid’s skateboard park and a couple hundred feet from the river and a busy street. I did tap on one and it seemed empty.

The label ‘1987 – 3’ means flammable alcohol.

This label by Chemtrec appeared on several of the tankers, according to their website;

Established in 1971 as a public service of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), CHEMTREC is an around-the-clock service available to fire fighters, law enforcement officials and other emergency responders who need immediate critical response information for emergency incidents involving chemicals, hazardous materials and dangerous goods. CHEMTREC’s highly trained personnel receive hundreds of calls every day and provide assistance during incidents that range from minor to critical.

I’ll end with some graffiti I found on one of the tankers. I think it says it all.

What’s up with the ‘white stained’ brick on the new building downtown?

Several people have commented to me that the white stained brick on the new building downtown going in the old Copper Lounge space doesn’t look that historical. Well join the club. A lot of the new construction downtown isn’t that historical. Just look at the condos across from Sunshine or the apartments and condos across from city hall and on Phillips to the Falls. They lack historical design.

But some are wondering how this brick facade got approved. Oh, the old ‘bait and switch’. I guess when the planning department was shown a sample of the brick that was going on that building, the developer, Legacy, showed them ONE brick that was the darkest from the crop with little white stain on it.

When the planning department was questioned about the relapse in judgement and what they were going to do about it they said moving forward they would require contractors to show a bigger cross section of the brick design.

But how does that solve this current problem?

You can’t make change stick unless you stick it to the original offender. I suggest the city informs Legacy they must paint the brick to come into historical compliance or tear it off. Once again, Legacy is given a free pass. Shocker!

City plans to create P.I.T.A. ordinance to downtown restaurant servers

Here we go again, a couple of people DT cried a river to the SFPD and now they want to make work more difficult for hospitality workers because people (or maybe the police) are to ignorant to determine obvious barriers;

Adam Roach, City Hall’s neighborhood development coordinator, said during nighttime hours when some of downtown’s popular bars are busiest, their outdoor patios can become overfilled with patrons standing on the sidewalks between the seating areas and their brick-and-mortar businesses. That clogs up the walkways for pedestrians who might be passing by.

“This came down from the police department because they had a concern that there was a lack of delineation between the sidewalk pubs and the sidewalks themselves,” Roach said.

Those concerns prompted the Community Development Department to retool its patio-lease policy for downtown businesses who pay the $35 annual fee to use the portion of right-of-way between downtown streets and downtown sidewalks. And soon, all 15 of the businesses who have that kind of lease while also holding a beer, wine or liquor licenses will begin using stanchions as barriers to better define where a patio ends and the sidewalk begins.

“A person on a sidewalk with a drink is in violation. And in the past we’ve just utilized the pink concrete as the barrier, but we all know late at night those things kind of fade,” Roach said. “(Stanchions) will provide greater visibility for our police department for patrolling activity on the sidewalks.”

First off, the obvious. There is a ‘delineation’ between the patio and sidewalk, it’s called a grooved line. It is pretty obvious. I will agree with the SFPD, there are people violating the rule, that’s a given. A better approach would be the beat cops DT educating the public for a few weeks that they need to be in the patio area. I would also be all for a large sign by the patio saying ‘ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ON CITY SIDEWALK NOT PERMITTED. ORD# ?’. Last resort would be handing out citations, which I don’t oppose either.

The problem with this is that we are expecting the business owner, who purchased a permit, an extra expense because the SFPD are not enforcing the law, which they should.

But my biggest complaint is that this will cause extra work for patio servers who will have to navigate around stanchions. While this won’t be that big of a deal for a place that just serves alcohol like the Carpenter or Lucky’s, for places like Minerva’s it is a gigantic hassle. I served patio patrons at a DT restaurant a few years ago. It sucks to begin with because you have to run food and drinks from the back of the establishment to the front, than you have to try to handle a food tray through a door, than add another barrier, give me a break. It was pretty obvious that the DT restaurant owners were not consulted, and if they were, they didn’t talk to staff. While I am OK with the alcohol only places having stanchions, the restaurants should be exempt, oh, and the cops should just do their job, that would be helpful.

Downtown Sioux Falls still exists

I thought I would remind everyone with First Friday happening today that Downtown Sioux Falls still exists and all of your favorite bars, restaurants and shops are also still there.

I know that there was a fear for awhile that after Former Mayor Coors Light & Olives left city hall that Downtown Sioux Falls would suffer and close down. Somehow the TenHaken Administration has figured out how to keep the lights on Downtown.

I attempted to contact city hall for comment about what they are ‘doing right’ to keep Downtown going and I got this in response;

“Lloyd Companies are great!”

Maybe our Health Care Mega-Plexes should partner with Paratransit instead?

While it’s nice that Sanford has money for liquor licenses, suite’s at the Denty, Sports Bars, Basketball arenas and now a tourist trolley, shouldn’t Sanford & Avera be looking at a private/public partnership with Paratransit?

“We’re always proud to support services in our communities,” said Paul Hanson, Sanford Health executive vice president. “We know how much visitors love the Sioux Falls trolley service and couldn’t be happier to support it.”

While that’s great, I just wish our health systems would focus on ‘health’. I think a partnership with the hospitals and paratransit could be inked. Besides, I think the Trolley should be paid for out of the CVB’s BID Tax, but I guess they refuse. Well at least Sanford is fulfilling one empty promise from the former mayor and the CVB;

The trolleys also will be available as a shuttle service between downtown and the Denny Sanford Premier Center for major events throughout the year.

Premier Center entertainment district here we come!

New Hotel Downtown to include a Residence Inn

Funny, I got a call before the parking ramp hotel was approved from a foot soldier, he said this;

“The new hotel downtown is going to be a Residence Inn and ran by Lamont.”

What’s ironic about this is that this has been kept a secret for over 6 months (or longer), for what reason? What would have been the harm in telling the public this when they knew about it? There is no good reason. Secrecy serves no one, and sometimes oddly, doesn’t serve a purpose.

Ribbon Cutting of ‘City Center’ Laundromat, uh, I mean, Admin building

What a clever name, I wonder where they got such an idea? It’s not like we have a hotel a block away called ‘City Centre’ or a Laundromat and car wash called ‘City Center’ at 6th and Minnesota.