Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

HUGE FAIL! $27 million Federal tax dollars and rail traffic in Downtown Sioux Falls will remain almost the same

railyard winter 15

The cold hard truth about the RR relocation project

Yesterday at the informational meeting there was an update on the RR relocation project. And while the switching yard will move outside of town (that is why we are getting ten acres of land) it was confirmed by planning staff that rail traffic will remain ‘almost’ the same.

I guess when the environmental study was done, BNSF explained that while the longer trains will not be switching cars for smaller deliveries downtown anymore with Eastern and Ellis, that those deliveries will still have to be made Downtown. Planning described it as ‘Smaller trains, but more frequent traffic’.

I went to the city council meeting last night, and during public input I expressed my disappointment in how this project has really changed from its original intent, which was to close the switching yard downtown AND reduce rail traffic. In fact, it could get worse with more frequent train traffic.

Not sure where the train went off the tracks with this project (no pun intended) but it seems the feet dragging and delay after Huether took office may have affected the final result. It was no secret that Huether was cock blocking the project so talk of an Events Center downtown could be quelled. The ten acres would have made a perfect spot for a parking lot for a downtown EC. In fact many still burning from the sting of that whole fiasco have argued that is all that property is good for, besides a public park. As I expressed last night, you won’t be able to build residential, and retail may be questionable also. Besides the noise of the more frequent trains running along the development land, the close proximity to the river could flood the Southern edge of the development. There has been talk about making the area a ‘quiet zone’ which requires crossbars on the street, but as I have understood Federal law on that, there will still have to be some kind of (audio) warning system in place. And even if the whistles are NOT blowing the rattle and clank of trains is loud enough.

Of course all of my whining really is coming to late. Our media really failed pointing out the reality of this project, the only journalist willing to say anything in agreement with me is Johnathan Ellis, and he gets chided for it.

This project is a HUGE FAIL for Federal Tax payers, a HUGE FAIL for downtown commuters and soon it will become a HUGE FAIL for local tax payers once we will be all standing around holding the bag for a piece of property we paid $27 million for that at most, probably will sell for around $4-5 million, AFTER we clean it up.

This is prime example of how pathetic government can really be with our money.


Darrin Smith uses common sense for once


In one of his last decisions as community development director, he chose to use common sense;

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.

At least Smith goes out on a good note.

Touchmark to gift trees to All Saints Neighborhood

Funny, after all of the crying about ‘destroying a neighborhood’ by cutting down a couple of trees, it seems the neighborhood may have a change of heart;

When Touchmark removed dozens of mature trees, angered neighbors said they felt misled about the number of trees that would be spared.

Last week, Touchmark agreed to donate $3,750 to help the All Saints Neighborhood Association plant up to 100 trees in the neighborhood.

“Neighbors aren’t always going to agree on issues. What’s important is that something positive has come about because of the issue itself,” said Katrina Lehr-McKinney, the association’s president. “Touchmark, in our neighborhood, has found another way to work together to make something positive happen.”

I have said from the beginning a couple of things,

  • Touchmark owns the property, they should be able to build what they want to within limitations.
  • The grove of trees next to the retirement center was actually pretty creepy (I nicknamed it Gorky Park), and anything there would be an improvement (in fact I have been enjoying the construction project because you can see the old building now that the trees are removed).
  • I have felt this was never about the trees but the industrial hospital complexes fighting Touchmark providing therapy and care to their clients on campus, and some neighbors in the hood were manipulated to fight it under the guise of ‘trees’ and ‘historical preservation’.
  • Now we find out, they will add even more trees to the hood (though I am opposed to planting in the boulevard.)

See, a happy ending after all. I wonder if the new therapy center will be providing Chinese massages? But don’t complain about that to the city council, or they will call you a racist.

Why not charge MORE to ride the Trolley?

Or charge Downtown businesses a DT trolley sponsorship fee? Or do both?

It costs tens of thousands of dollars to keep the trolley running each summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and organizers are looking to the community to help foot the bill for what they say is a valuable resource for downtown businesses and tourists.

Doesn’t that say it all right there? Visitors use it to the benefit of DT businesses. I think a solution would be to charge say $5 dollars for a day pass and if you purchase something at a DT business over $25 that business would give you a $5 dollar discount with proof of your pass. Seems we don’t blink an eye to raise paratransit, why not have tourists pay? Every place I have traveled to requires me to pay for my inner city transportation. Why should SF be any different? Let’s just see how much of an impact the trolley rides really have on DT business, conduct an experiment. We may just find out people are hitching a free ride to Falls Park and not spending a dime in Downtown. If that’s case, to the auction block.

Also, whatever happened to the promise of FREE trolley rides from DT hotels and restaurants to the Events Center? Did that ever happen?

BOOM! Plop. pfoof

Darrin Smith’s batting average lately hasn’t been to good;

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.

We can keep the Winter Wonderland while saving tax money


Here we go again, yet another story about the beauty and expense of Falls Park, WW light display;

“With all the people in this city who need a meal, why do they spend all that money on the lights?” Monger asked.

While Larry has a good point, I have often suggested we can have the nice light display AND it wouldn’t cost the city much more then an electric bill;

As for the display itself, While I think it is a great idea, I think it could be done differently. Other cities do similiar displays but they have businesses volunteer the expense and labor and use it as an opportunity for teambuilding around Christmas. Workers and their families of the businesses that donate volunteer their time to set up the display then the city foots the bill of the electricity. They do have sponsors, but city employees do all the set-up. In fact, mostly public works department workers from the forestry division begin assembling the display starting October 1st. Which I find ironic in itself. One time when I questioned the city about project TRIM and why the city’s forestry department just didn’t trim trees that residences couldn’t reach in the boulevard, they replied, “We don’t have enough staff or enough time.” But taking almost two months to put up Christmas lights, plenty of time for. Just imagine how many trees could be trimmed in that same time period?

Once again, the city proves it’s priorities towards citizens and the law.

I also find this ironic, since the city is always bragging about public/private partnerships, yet have no idea what the display actually costs us and seems to have NO interest in making it more economical while possibly making it better.

Hopefully the new mayor will take on the challenge of opening the light display up to local businesses.

Overheard conversation

P1: What are you doing tonight?
P2: Before I go to a concert at the Washington Pavilion, thought I would grab a brew at Woodgrain, stroll over to Bro’s for an appetizer and then have dinner at Sushi Masa, then after the show grab a glass of wine at Paramount then maybe finish the night playing a couple games of pool at Lucky’s. How about you?
P1: I’m going to head on over to the Entertainment District next to the Premier Center, grab some scratch tickets at Kum & Go then see if I am a winner while enjoying a piece of pie at Rolling Pin.
P2: You always out do me. Wish I could join you, but since I live downtown and don’t have a car, I guess I will just have to wait until those shuttle rides from Downtown to the Events Center come to fruition.

Parking Rate hikes just don’t add up

The more I think about this proposal, the more I question this increase;

“Our system is more than 90 percent full. It will be 100 percent full most likely in the next two years before we can open a new parking ramp,” said Darrin Smith, Sioux Falls Community Development Director.

Projects like the new ramp cost money. That’s why the city is proposing a rate change in Downtown Sioux Falls.

WOW! Where do we begin?

• We tear down a parking ramp that was useful and sell it for $1.

• We are going to be 100% full in two years yet the parking ramp the city is paying for is for a private hotel and apartments, with only about 3-5% useable by the public.

• The city will be leasing the parking ramp to these private entities. Shouldn’t that lease payment cover the bond payments? If not, why not? What is the benefit to the public to build a private parking ramp that the public can’t use most of the time and make us take care of the short fall on the bond payments?

This whole thing stinks to high Heaven, and I hope the council removes their heads from their asses and votes this increase down and demands the parking department adjust the lease payments to cover the bonds, or better yet, make the PRIVATE development build their own damn parking ramp. Let free enterprise work for itself, otherwise it’s just parking socialism. Maybe we should call it ‘Obama-park’?

Why does everything Downtown Sioux Falls have to be a restaurant/retail/condo?

These developers are starting to sound like broken records more and more everyday;

Scherschligt said he doesn’t think the plan is “the highest and best use for that land.”

“Sioux Falls has been successful because the businesspeople and leaders of this community did not always think about themselves, but they thought about what was better for everybody,” he said. “We have these master plans. We create these master plans. And we buy into it. It wasn’t just one person. It was task forces of people.”

Former city planning director Steve Metli, who worked closely with several city master plans for the riverfront, said he’s disappointed in the development plan for the Kilian property.

“It’s a two-block stretch of the river walk that connects the falls to downtown, so it would be excellent for housing or major office, commercial – retail, restaurant-type use, and I was hoping that’s what it could be,” he said. “As much as the community has supported and still supports Lutheran Social Services, I think they could have put more thought in their decision to go there on behalf of the community.”

Sure, it ‘could’ be used for that, but what is wrong with having higher education and immigration services downtown also? I commend Kilian for their partnership and keeping downtown diverse.

And BTW, I have been in some of these new ‘housing’ units built downtown by Steve’s buddy, talk about cheap slap together sloppy workmanship. I guess nobody takes pride in their work anymore, as long as they can get a tax break while charging high priced rents. These places will be ram shackle within the decade. I can’t believe we hand out TIF’s for these projects.

The Falls Park webcam is back. How about the Phillips Avenue cam?


One of my foot soldiers brought this to my attention;


Cool, great live video of the 13th dirtiest river in the country. Now let’s get a view of the progress of the Mexican restaurant on 12th and Phillips.