Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

First Night of Levitt was Fantastic!

Click to enlarge photo

If I had to take an educated guess it was around 2,000 people. The Levitt organization was very helpful with lawn chairs, and there was plenty of room for everyone. The sound system was also almost perfect, it wasn’t too loud and it was very clear. We will see how tonight’s concert goes, fantastic band;

A couple of observations though;

• There was NO temporary bike racks and people seem to pile their bikes together or chain them together.

• People (especially women) were praising the restrooms.

• The concerts end right at 9 PM sharp. I think they should adjust the time to 10 PM on Friday and Saturdays. The sun was just going down at 9 and it would have been cool to watch the music for another hour.

• The drink ticket situation is strange. The tickets are only good for the day of the event and they quit selling at 8:30 PM. So if you have any tickets left, you are screwed. On a positive note though, the selection was really good for beer, etc. But in a strange move they put the wristband station on the west side of the park and the drink line on the east side. I guess they make you exercise for your beer.

Also, on my ride home, I took this strange photo behind Slumshine. Unrelated.

UPDATE: The Levitt has NO permanent bike racks. ZILCH!

UPDATE: I went past the Levitt tonight and still no temporary bike racks. (there is an ice machine for the entertainers though). Ironically on the east side of the restrooms there is a large swath that you could have put in at least 30-50 racks, instead they put landscaping. Even if temp racks show up, I am not sure where they could put them. As for ADA parking, I think they are designating the area south of the stage in the city owned lot.

Bathrooms. Check. Expensive sodding and landscaping. Check. Food trucks and beer. Check. Sound system. Check. Sponsorships. Check. Lack of parking. Check.

So you would think an organization that has been complaining about parking by the Levitt would provide bike racks. There isn’t any permanent ones at the location and temporary ones haven’t arrived as of tonight. There isn’t even any trees or other structures to chain your bike to (we could drill a few holes in the Munson plaque and use that).

You would think when we are trying to promote walkability downtown and the use of other forms of transportation to get to events we would have a bike rack?!

Wonder who was the genius that left that out of the plans?

I will say this, the next time I hear anyone from Levitt or the City bitch about the lack of parking at the Levitt I will (not so gently) remind them to install bike racks.

Stehly sets up meeting with developers and business owners to discuss diaganol parking

Theresa told me,

“Taking time to listen and hear all sides is an important part of the role of City council. I will summarize the items that were negotiated on Tuesday Night.”

Was the Downtown Parking Ramp just a ‘SHAM’ from the beginning?

I never did have a good feeling about the project and told several city councilors that the hotel will never be completed, then I hear this;

“The NMTC is a highly competitive economic development program, which incents private investments in the poorest rural and urban communities in America,” Rapoza said in a statement. “To receive NMTC allocation from the Department of Treasury and participate in the program, community development organizations demonstrate a record of financing dynamic projects that improve services such as health care, or create jobs and opportunity in communities where capital is difficult to obtain from conventional lenders.”

Low paying hospitality jobs is hardly a good reason to give such a project tax incentives. This deal was doomed from the beginning and any city official/employee who supported this, worked on this or voted for this should be ashamed and should resign.

Levitt getting closer . . .

UPDATE: Is a local developer remodeling downtown apartment building without permits?

UPDATE: I guess a building permit mysteriously got posted yesterday late. Not sure if it was laying in a contractor’s tool box up until this point or what. Funny how these things work.

I’m still getting more details, but I found out last night that this historic building downtown had tenants complaining because of the mess, they also noticed NO permits for demolition and remodeling. The City’s Building Services department may also be investigating.

The worst part about it is this developer has a track record of this kind of funny business. Some people never learn.

It will be interesting to hear what is really going on.

Let’s ‘BANK’ on it! (Reader Submission)

The partners in The Banks project rejected by the city of Sioux Falls:

Robert “Bob” Thimjon – Regency Management (Ramkota)

Bill Baker – 1st National Bank of Sioux Falls

Michael Bender – Bender Company

UPDATE: Downtown Parking Ramp a bad deal. Yah think?!

We have all heard the story tonight, and Detroit Lewis saw this coming. I predicted early on “There will never be a hotel built at that site.” Trust me, I hate being the ‘I told you so’ guy, but this was obvious from the beginning. I will leave you with my public scolding tonight at the city council meeting.

UPDATE: The city just sent this out;

CLARIFICATION: The City of Sioux Falls has not ruled out private development at this site in the future. At this time, we are focused on the completion of the parking ramp portion of the project.

Today, the City of Sioux Falls provided the Village River Group (VRG) with a notice of termination of their development agreement and ground lease for the Village on the River project.

On December 29, 2017, the City entered into a development agreement for construction of a mixed-use development including a public parking ramp and private hotel with leasable retail space.

The City has invested significant time and resources working with VRG in furtherance of performance of the development agreement.

On April 1, 2019, the City notified VRG that it was in default on the Village on the River project. In accordance with the development agreement, VRG had 30 calendar days to cure multiple defaults. VRG has failed to cure these defaults within the development agreement’s cure period or at any time thereafter.

The project can and will proceed as a stand-alone parking ramp which will alleviate parking challenges within downtown Sioux Falls.

Consistent with protecting taxpayer interests, the City has reserved any and all of its legal remedies available to it under the terms of the development agreement.

In other news, at the Informational meeting, councilor Brekke read her letter to the editor that Cory Myers, News Director of the Argus Leader refused to publish;

May 6, 2019

Letter to the Editor

From: City Councilmember Janet Brekke

I am writing in response to the recent letter to the Editor by Former Councilmember Rex Rolfing and the May 5th Argus Leader Editorial. In my opinion both articles missed the point.

In today’s environment of good versus evil, winners versus losers, or us versus them, frameworks it is plain to see that the Sioux Falls City Council is suffering from the same ultra-polarization that is immobilizing our Federal Government.

The problem that arose with the City Council’s hiring of an Internal Audit Manager has very little to do with the candidate that was ultimately selected. Ultimately the failed discussions and subsequent actions are symptoms of a larger problem.  The larger problem is the City Council’s inability to discuss any divisive problem in a deliberative open minded manner.

Since I joined the City Council last year I have tried to promote and adhere to good government procedures and practice: Decorum, Ethics, Roberts Rules of Order, Open Meetings and Open Records laws. So why does process matter? I believe good process matters because solving complex problems calls for creativity and collaboration, in ways that us versus them, winners versus losers, and good versus evil, do not. In a political context the idea that the good need to simply destroy the evil as we were taught in the movies of our childhood simply does not apply. Affixing blame and demonizing individual councilmembers is counterproductive.

We all have a role to play in our dysfunction. Ron Brownstien, CNN Sr. Political Analyst spoke at the National League of Cities about Congressional polarization on the health care issue. He said both sides claimed they could not talk about the issue because they were too far apart.   Brownstein’s suggestion, “Being far apart on an issue is not a reason to refuse to discuss an issue. Rather being far apart on an issue is the very reason you begin discussions.”  The City Council needs to engage in a deliberative process where we interact and listen to each other. I believe each of us has a valuable perspective to bring to the discussion. We need to work on our ability to collaborate and compromise. If we cannot take the time and effort to work to achieve consensus on hiring an Internal Audit Manager how can we expect to solve the complex problems facing the City. This us versus them mentality serves no one well, least of all the residents of Sioux Falls.

What amazes me is that our soul daily in town had to come after the only councilor (besides Starr) to oppose the parking ramp. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Levitt Announces 2019 Concert Series

I still have to do some more research on the bands, but some really stand out (I bolded the bands I have either seen or heard before). Jonathan Byrd is fantastic. I’m really excited about the series and will try to attend most of the concerts. This is a very good thing for Sioux Falls. Hopefully in 2020 we can BYOB. As I have told councilors it is just a matter of changing city ordinance to allow BYOB at Falls Park West (which really isn’t a part of Falls Park, though they keep claiming it is).

UPDATE: I started linking some YT vids of the bands. Lots of great stuff and it’s all FREE!

Americana Series

Sponsored by CorTrust Bank

Rock Series

Sponsored by First PREMIER Bank

Women of Song Series 

Sponsored by Avera

World Music Series

Sponsored by MetaBank

The Family Series 

Sponsored by an anonymous donor supporting Therapy Dogs International

If the media is getting it wrong, maybe you should talk to the media

When I first started reading this story on SooFooBizzo I had to double check to see if I was on the Sioux Falls Headliner site, because some of the things said are laughable;

The new plan at 152 rooms represents an estimated $45 million in private development, “so we’re well above and beyond what the city approved for this project,” Lamont said.

Huh? Remember the last project that wanted to make changes to the pre-approved plan next to 8th and Railroad. It’s dead.

“AC has its own lounge, which is a bar with tapas-style appetizers,” Lamont said.

Someone should tell Jeff the word tapas means appetizers, I’m just saying.

“We’ve got clothing stores interested in the retail, coffee shops, office space, things like that,

You mean like every other strip mall in Sioux Falls, surprised he didn’t say pizzeria.

The project scaled back after two potential incentives didn’t materialize, including new market tax credits from the federal government. While the credits looked promising last year, the location of the project changed from what the government considered “severely distressed” to “distressed,” Lamont said.

Yeah, I’m sure it has NOTHING to do with one of your partners being investigated by the Feds. I doubt the two departments even talk to each other . . .

The developers also requested tax increment financing from the city, but city officials decided not to recommend it.

“They don’t think they can support it or that it would gain traction,” he said, acknowledging the parking ramp that supports the project was publicly funded.

“That definitely is nice,” he said.

That’s so sweet of him to compliment the taxpayers for getting bent over the barrel on this.

The city offered a property tax incentive that the project automatically qualifies to receive as well as a business improvement district tax rebate. The latter will need City Council approval.

Thanks for the ‘NICE’ $26 million dollar parking ramp, oh, and BTW can we get a tax rebate on a for-profit hotel on prime real estate? The city council would be absolutely insane to approve a rebate, but the track record lately of the rubber stamp 5 is less then stellar.

The city is reviewing proposed changes to the project scope to determine the financial impact to the city, said Erica Beck, the mayor’s chief of staff.

“Our top priorities are complying with the existing agreement and avoiding financial burdens to the taxpayers as a result of any proposed changes,” she said in a statement.

In other words, don’t f’ck us over.

The group has the financial capacity to make the project happen, he added.

What? Did he send another one page letter that said ‘Were good for it’ and ‘the check is in the mail’.

“The media reports keep alluding the project is in jeopardy,” he said. “That’s absolutely incorrect.”

Maybe if you actually talked to the media instead of a content marketing business website the media would be reporting the truth, even though I think they already are.

The city council approved the $50K to a law firm last night without discussion that specializes in ‘ironing out’ deals like this. I have a feeling this is going to get ugly before it gets ‘nice’.