Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

Going Broke, Human Rights and rounding up the homeless

A few tidbits about some of the discussions I have had over the past couple of days.

Is the city going Broke?

Many of us are beginning to get suspicious about all the proposed fee increases going on in our city. From the Events Center to the Indoor pool it seems are city finance department is scrambling to raise more revenue. Just look at the Mayor’s obsession with the 3rd Penny Tax implementation this last legislative session.

How is our NEW Human Rights Coordinator doing?

Besides her hiring announcement on CityLink and on Stormland TV on March 16, I have heard nothing about what Vandhana Baireddy has been up to. In fact, I haven’t seen her since on the local media or at public meetings. Does she still work for the city?

The Herding of the Homeless?

There has been a rumor floating around that the SFPD has been rounding up the undesirables, the drunkards and homeless troublemakers on Friday afternoons downtown to prep the area for all the yuppies enjoying cigars, bad acoustic music and meals on the Minerva’s patio over the weekend. Not sure if it is true, but I have noticed they seem to be non-existant on the weekends. In all fairness it may be the success of the Dudley House?

FREE Youth Summer Transit program – Kickoff today!

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Image: KSFY screenshot

The kickoff is from 11 AM – 1 PM at EmBe downtown Sioux Falls today (Saturday).

(I also noticed that KSFY used a photo of the kids with the mayor in the story. A reminder that this is the 2nd or 3rd resolution that the mayor has refused to sign, which delayed the FREE ridership by one week. He deserves ZERO credit for this program being implemented. ZERO!)

Mayor Huether in a Huff?

I found this on Steve Hildebrand’s FB page;

I bet I’ve spoken to more than 100 people about this project – all who believe it’s important and a great step forward for downtown and Sioux Falls in general.

I’ve also spoken directly to Mayor Huether about it. He’s absolutely got his heels dug in on this one and says “they will not get a TIF.” When I asked him why he was opposed to a TIF for this $29 million project with tremendous economic impact for our city, he literally stormed off in a huff. Really? Seems like when a taxpayer asks a public official to explain their position, the could do just that – without getting all uptight.

For the life of me, I can understand why Mayor Huether would oppose this important project for Sioux Falls. If you believe this project is important, please call, email or talk to Mayor Huether in person. Please also share your thoughts with members of the SF Planning Commission and the City Council. We need their support to make this project possible.

 

For the record, I am against this TIF, but I am bias, I don’t believe in TIF’s. Over the past two years we have had record building permits, and NO TIF’s were granted. Are they needed? Or can private enterprise roll on it’s own? Playing the Devil’s advocate, let’s say I am for TIF’s, the biggest issue with this one is it is too large. I think if they scaled it back by 75% they would have a better chance.

As for the mayor, he doesn’t play well with others, and that is becoming more evident.

$25,000 for Sculpture toothbrush cleaning, and zilch for mosaic wall

I don’t think this was a mistake, I believe with all the Downtown development, they kind of want the wall to go away, but a bad way to go about it;

But the maintenance has been sparse since the last segment of artwork was installed in 2009. And time is taking its toll.

Creators of the mosaic believe vibrations caused by the demolition of the nearby River Ramp in 2012 caused many of the tiles to loosen. Ice melt and other chemicals applied to the adjacent road in winter splashes up on the mosaic and contributes to a leaching that is staining the tiles.

“Having that type of wall next to a busy street with our winters just makes it problematic,” said Sue Quanbeck Etten, director of central services for the city.

But chemical splash isn’t the only issue here. The wall sits along a triangular piece of land that the city believes is prime for redevelopment. It’s trying to gauge private interest now in building on that site. Depending on the interest, the city wants to expand the River Greenway to that side of the Big Sioux much the same as has been done next to Cherapa Place and the Hilton Garden Inn on the east side.

No surprise though, like most things public art wise in Sioux Falls they mis-manage funds to support it, and when they do get it right they fail on maintenance. I think the Statue of David jinx us years ago.

Downtown Non-Restaurant Retailers to expand hours?

Outdoor Dining in Downtown Sioux Falls

Here we go again, as a person who has worked on and off Downtown since 1993, the expansion of night time hours for non-restaurant retailers has been thrown around like a volleyball since then. Some don’t think it would work, but ironically the longest running retailer downtown, Zandbroz, has been open for nights for years, and if it was hurting business, they would have ended the night time hours years ago.

I have often said if I were a downtown retailer that sold wooden geese, boutique dresses or cheese, I would be open from 11-7 or 8 PM. I have never understood the day time hours of these businesses.

I encourage retailers to try it out for at least a summer, and I recommend 80-100% participation. It won’t work if just a couple more do it. If we want Downtown to thrive, we need to start operating it like a big city Downtown and not a Podunk Downtown. In other words more shopping and entertainment opportunities and MORE FOOD TRUCKS at night!

City Ordinance Laugh of the Day

green-beer

I had to really laugh when I read this press release on the city website about the St. Patty’s day parade tomorrow in DTSF;

Spectators and attendees are reminded that drinking alcohol on public streets and sidewalks is illegal in Sioux Falls and includes the parade and other St. Patrick’s Day events. People who are drinking alcohol in public could receive a citation with a fine of $120.

The City Ordinance that prohibits public consumption of alcohol states: It shall be unlawful for any person to drink or consume or attempt to drink or consume any distilled spirits, wines and malt beverages, as defined by state laws, in or upon any public street, alley, highway, or public sidewalk.

Good luck with enforcing that ordinance :)

The irony of this is that the city sells bump-out permits to restaurants downtown to sell and consume food and alcohol on public property, outside. So I guess if you are standing on the bump-outs tomorrow drinking a green beer, you will be in compliance. That will be a fun argument to have with the coppers. Just don’t point your beer at them.

Mobile Food Vendor Solution, reverse ONE ordinance

It seems after watching the full discussion on the proposed food truck regulations (Public Services Meeting, FF: 44:00-notice supporting PDF documents are missing-imagine that!?), the simplest way to fix the problem (that really doesn’t exist) is to eliminate the ordinance that mobile food vendors can’t park on the public right-of-way. Which is kind of ironic, because they all do it currently, but who complains while filling their face with shrimp jumbalaya or fried pirogies at 2:15 AM while on a drunk bender?

The proposed distances, permitting fees, hours of operation are just an attempt by brick and mortar restaurants downtown to chase the mobile vendors out. Which is ironic, because it wouldn’t ban the food ‘carts’ or the pizza places from delivering to you DT (which is competition with them also).

Everybody should know, the best way DT restaurants can eliminate their competition is by getting a city fire hydrant to explode and fill a basement restaurant with 2 feet of water while it takes our Fire Department over an hour to shut down the hydrant. Then blame ‘God’ for why it happened.

Never mind about all that JAZZ . . . because once again the city is influenced by the affluent trying to to make DT more of a yuppie-wealthy playground.

The success of DT will be diversity not exclusiveness and more regulations on eatery choices will NOT help DT to thrive. I want more choices then the senior citizen salad bar or the overpriced steaks justified by the $20,000 aqua green couch that every newlywed needs to have their portrait on.

Sometimes I just want loose meat and onion juices dripping out of my drunk ass mouth.

The snobbery around the proposed code regulations are obvious, and you are not even fooling pizza delivery drivers.

Change the public right-of-way ordinance, and move on already. We have enough D-Bags that hang out DT that think they are important, let’s flush them out with one ‘Taco in a Bag’ at a time.

How ‘Executive’ & ‘Hip’ we have become. I’m almost blushing with pride.

Nothing like taking money out of the public school and county’s kitty and building luxury quarters for the rich in Sioux Falls.

Downtown residential development in Sioux Falls had lagged that of other cities, despite the central presence of beautiful Falls Park. But things picked up after city leaders worked to attract more commercial activity. Hospitals, banks, hotels, and others moved in. Craig Lloyd, CEO of Lloyd Co., made the $2 million, winning bid for a city-owned brownfield, using tax increment financing to improve the site. He rehabbed two buildings, demolished another, and built three apartment buildings. 

Funny how they forgot to mention Lloyd went back on their promise to have retail on the first floor, but still gave them the TIF anyway. Who runs this town? Good question.

Parking meter ideas (H/T – JB)

I like a lot of these ideas for DTSF. Number 3 is my favorite, especially with all the monster trucks parking on Phillips Avenue.

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UPDATE: What’s going on with the RR Relocation Project?

UPDATE: Well, I heard a few things from a reliable source tonight that I (we all) have suspected. Basically, BNSF is asking for an atrocious price for the land, I won’t say the amount, but let’s just say it is laughable.

You have to remember, this has been a switching yard for over 120 years, the amount of pollution on that plot of land is probably enormous, on top of the fact it will cost a lot to clean it up. I would compare it to buying a home with a bad roof and broken foundation, you would ask the seller to come down in price, way down.

The kicker though, and I am speculating here, is the first appraisal came in way, way, way lower then the asking price, and I hear the second one wasn’t much better.

Without saying too much I will put it in perspective. Let’s just say the appraisal isn’t matching up with the asking price, by a long shot.

This is probably why the negotiations are taking this long. It would be like you getting a $250 credit limit credit card with $190 dollars in fees on it when you receive it in the mail . . .

I have a feeling the FEDS are probably going to refuse to purchase the land for what BNSF is asking, or already have.

I know, I know, I have asked this question a couple (100) times over the past, I don’t know, 8 years? But the mayor mentioned at his Shut Up & Listen session last Saturday that it is still proceeding, and it has been one of the most challenging projects he has ever worked on (yeah, hoodwinking the Feds isn’t as easy as hoodwinking passive South Dakotans).

Now we have a local developer, and River Greenway welfare queen, Jeff ‘Government Handout’ Cherapa saying this;

Jeff Scherschlight, CEO of Howalt McDowell in Cherapa Place and managing partner of Cherapa, detailed the parameters of the potential changes.

“Basically, they’re going to leave the tracks that are furthest east will still exist,” Scherschlight said. “There’ll be two tracks, and everything from there coming west will be removed. And that is the railroad switchyard, which they’re going to relocate in smaller towns around Sioux Falls, and do their switching there, which is the big advantage that we gain this extra land downtown for downtown development.”

Scherschlight could see his building, Cherapa Place, expand to include a second building, should the current railway switch yard site become transformed into parking. Only two railroad tracks would remain, while the switchyard would be relocated away from downtown.

What I find interesting about this ‘edited’ story is that the original text that was posted last night on StormLand’s website has disappeared (I should have copied it) there was a mention in the original post that said “. . . an announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday” about the progress of the project.

UPDATE: It is in the video though if you listen closely. Wonder why the city didn’t want to do an on camera interview? And what does Jeff Cherapa know? If anything?