Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

Why are we allowing SMG to run a dictatorship on entertainment options in our community?

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First we had the ticketing ordeal at the Events Center, that SMG claims they can take no action on (or will not take any action on). In other words they are allowing the promoters, the ticket brokers and artists to have dibs on tickets to a facility we are paying the mortgage/maintenance on, and holding us hostage to the higher scalped ticket prices.

Now they are not allowing a local BBQ joint to partake in RibFest, saying it is only for ‘national and international’ competitors. This isn’t a French cooking Festival, this is BBQ ribs.

But if that isn’t enough to torque you off a bit, I had a South DaCola foot soldier tell me the other day that when he tried to attain copies of the sponsorship agreements between the sponsors and Events Center, SMG told him that they were ‘private’ because they are between SMG and the sponsors AND not the city. As an attorney, he pointed out that SMG is merely an ‘agent’ of the city holding those contracts and it should be public record.

He didn’t have much luck with his argument.

I guess what bothers me the most is that we are allowing an independent contractor to not only bathe in the profits from the Event Center while we get to wallow in mortgage payments, we are allowing this public contractor to dictate to us, the ones providing them the opportunity to make a profit in our community, how and when we will be entertained and by who, and what that price will be.

If that doesn’t sound like an entertainment dictator, I don’t know what does?

City Administrators spread the myth about ‘storage’

Had a good chuckle last night during the discussion about ‘Club Cambria’ at the city council meeting (FF: 14:00)

Besides the hilarious exchange between the mayor and councilor Staggers (in which the mayor tried to stop Kermit’s line of questioning, and Kermit just ignored Mike and asked the questions anyway)* I really got a belly roll when SMG said they would store the contents of the Quartzite Club after tearing it out of the Events Center to make way for Club Cambria.

First off, we all know that is probably not going to happen. Why would anybody, including a municipality, store a bunch of construction material that has laminate & dried glue on it and is custom cut for a specific space? I can guarantee you it will get stored for about one week, and once the air is cleared, it will be transported to the landfill in the middle of the night. That is just my assumption.

Let’s give you an example from a few years ago.

Remember when the Statue of David was removed from Fawick Park for cleanup? While David sat in a Parks storage yard, the Italian marble pedestal mysteriously disappeared. Maybe I missed something and the pedestal is in storage at a museum or something, but I am not sure. Anytime the city says they are going to store something, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye.

The best thing for the city to do is to remove the materials and sell them on the next city/county auction, instead of playing PR games like they did with the stupid Jesus snowplows. If Cambria is paying for the remodel entirely, sell the materials that are removed so we are not totally taking it in the shorts.

*The mayor has been cutting Kermit off a lot, and even after many people have told the mayor and other councilors about how the mayor is running the decorum of the meetings poorly, he continues to interrupt Kermit. So Kermit now is just choosing to ignore him.

Events Center to replace existing lounge with ‘Club Cambria’?

I heard rumblings of this a few weeks back, and it is going before city council for approval (Item #11). While I am all for selling sponsorships, I don’t understand demolishing an existing lounge that tax payers already paid for something that really doesn’t look much different.

Remember, Cambria products are just like any other fabricated (fake) granite countertops, they all use the same manufacturing processes to make them, they just vary in color and design. It is the equivalent of changing the color of your house from polar white to eggshell white.

I also find the irony of replacing an existing lounge because of a sponsorship, but NOT replacing the siding because of the ‘politics’ of contracts.

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Wheelbarrow sales hit all time high this past week in Sioux Falls

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By Summit R. Swedge, southdacola.com

Not only have hardware stores in Sioux Falls seen an upswing in wheelbarrow sales this past week, they said the sale of mason jars and mattresses are also on the rise. A strange course of events that has some hardware store managers attributing to the Summit League Tournament.

“In the past we have seen a small up-tick in sales around the tournament time, but nothing like this. I think more people are seeing the bigger potential with the tournament now being played at our new events center,” says ACER Hardware Store Manager, Kevin Kneeberg.

I asked if people were more inclined to do yard work, brew hooch and get a good night’s rest around tournament time?

“Oh, I have speculated all of those things, but I guess I really don’t know. My wheelbarrow supplier couldn’t even tell me what it was all about when comparing market studies,” says Kneeberg.

I decided to ask some fans what they attributed the sales streak to.

College basketball fan, Marvin Boredtoudeaf thought maybe it had to do with tail-gaiting, “You, know, it’s gonna be a Hell of a nice weekend, one of those wheelbarrows would come in handy for a butt load of chips and salsa.”

Another fan, Grace Needsomtingtodo, said, “The games can get a little boring, so those mattresses would come in handy.”

I wasn’t buying it, because as I perused the parking lot at the Events Center, I didn’t see any of these items. So I decided to ask one of the Summit Tournament organizers the significance of the purchases and if there was some kind of promotion going on.

“Well, sports fans are usually full of a lot of crap . . . heck, really, I don’t have a clue, but I will concur, I could use a new bed” says organizer Carl ‘Lumpy’ Oranges.

It seemed I was getting no answers from these folks, so I decided to wait outside Acer Hardware and BINGO, I saw a guy feverishly hauling two wheelbarrows to his truck.

I yelled, “Sir! Sir! Could I ask why you and many other citizens are loading up on wheelbarrows? Are you a big fan attending the game? Have you received a special promotion?”

The man who cared not to be identified said, “College basketball? HA! I wouldn’t watch that for free at home, besides, I heard it is a real bi*ch to get tickets at that bent up tin can.” So I still wondered, why are people buying these items around Summit Tournament time?

He replies, “You’re kidding right? Now I have known for a long time that you journalists in Sioux Falls aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, but you seriously have no clue?

It’s for transporting and storing all the money this tax payer of Sioux Falls is going to make from the economic impact of the tournament, gotta be prepared, it’s like winning the lottery. Which reminds me, I also need to grab a shovel and a ticket.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell the gentleman that really isn’t how it works. I just hope Kneeberg is prepared for returns on Monday, besides, the economic impact or not, the tax payers of Sioux Falls are still going to have to make that mortgage payment on the Events Center every year, for a very, very, long time. They may want to keep the wheelbarrows to assist them in delivering that payment each year.

Pavilion needs new roof

CORRECTION: Remember the cinedome that needed a new roof last year? Well the 15 year old remodel now needs a new roof at ENGINEERING COSTS OF $78K. (Can’t wait to see the final costs to come in on the roof) While this is probably true, we need to take this into account, this is the kind of maintenance we will need for the Events Center over the next 20 years. Why is it that city facilities need so much maintenance?

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I also see the city needs to purchase ‘dumb bodies’, I thought we were already paying a hefty price for them :)

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Update: The Events Center ‘Ticket Conversation’

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Finally working; CityLink YouTube channel. I enjoy the part where they ham it up about the bad siding on the Events Center. Notice also, it only took 24 days for CityLink to fix the audio on this video. Good thing they gave them above 3% raises.

Su Fu Stu Pu Pu’s the Rapid City Civic Center expansion

I can't even say how stupid I think NASA is...

When taxpayers mortgage ‘play things’

Today during the indoor aquatic center naming rights press conference our esteemed leader of Sioux Falls said that when the city uses private dollars on public facilities the taxpayers win.

Yeah, I laughed to.

He brought up all the grand things that T Denny has done for the EC. Actually, taxpayers win if we don’t spend the money on play things to begin with, and let Sanford build the entire indoor pool complex at the Sports Center, on their dime. And as for the Events Center, let’s look at who is ‘winning’. As I have mentioned recently, the taxpayers are having trouble getting tickets without being raped by ticket scalpers and we still are responsible for the mortgage and maintenance on the facility, even if it is profitable and runs in the black. As taxpayers we really are the losers when it comes to the EC.

Which brings us to Mr. Whitney’s story in the Argus today. Stu says it would be a very bad investment for Rapid City to build the current plan of the new civic center in Rapid City. But he goes a step further and says we did it right in Sioux Falls by only incurring a possible $173 million dollar debt. Trust me, it will be a lot more, once you figure in maintenance and unforeseen problems.

Let’s say for a moment I supported the Events Center, I think one of the things I would have been vocal about as a supporter before the vote is that we don’t build it on the cheap. Apparently we didn’t learn the lesson from the Washington Pavilion which was slated as a $20 million dollar remodel that has probably surpassed $50 million in just 14 years. If you think for a moment that there will be NO more additional costs to the Events Center over the next 20 years besides a mortgage, you are eating some good Colorado Brownies.

I will commend Rapid City on one element of their civic center plan, they are building it for the future, and they are not afraid to spend the money to get it right the first time. Or at least that is their argument.

I think five years from now we will all be scratching our heads as to why the EC wasn’t built bigger and why the place is in a constant state of repair. Heck the place just opened and the siding is inferior (which was brought to the city’s attention before it opened) and flooring on the second floor has so many cracks in it if you were a superstitious person your mother would have a broken back.

So while I will agree with Su Fu’s new superstar journalist that RC should nix the plan, I just wish Stu was this vocal about our ‘on the cheap’ EC plan instead of cheerleading like a 14 year old girl behind the mayor. But I guess we all don’t have wet dreams over HS basketball tournaments.

The Events Center ‘Investment’

There was often a lot of talk to the run-up to the vote for the Events Center about ‘economic impact’. But was that ‘impact’ ever really broken down? And who is benefitting (economically) the most?

In all fairness the mortgage on this facility, to reach probably well over $180 million (not including operations and maintenance over the next 30 years) will be paid for out of the CIP, one of two pennies the city gets from sales taxes.  So in some ways visitors to our city and EC will help pay that mortgage. But even if the sales generated from the EC (lodging, fuel, food, tickets, etc.) was around $200 or $300 million a year that is only $2-3 million into the CIP, a far cry from our $10 million dollar mortgage each year. The comparison kind of reminds of how much taxpayers have put into platting fees versus the developers.

Also factor in whether the place will stay in the black with operations, maintenance, upgrades, etc. Even with sponsorships, it may squeak by, and on a generous note, if the EC actually makes the city a profit each year, will that money go into the CIP to help pay the mortgage? A question that has only been vaguely answered by several city officials saying the same thing, “That’s a possibility.” Which means . . . NO.

Let’s face it, if the facility does make a profit, we may never know, because profits will quickly be eaten up by the managing companies that run the facility and promoters. I have a feeling we will magically always end just a little in the black each year, with someone else besides the lowly citizens of SF enjoying the spoils.

So besides the public supposedly benefitting from this economic impact (we will get to that in a moment) who else has REALLY benefitted (economically) from the EC’s construction?

– The bonding company that sold the bonds gets a percentage of the sale, instead just a flat fee.

– Mortenson and several contractors have benefitted, and depending on how the siding gets fixed, they may also come out smelling like roses on that also.

– Hotels, restaurants and other businesses that see an uptick in business when an event comes to town.

– Ticket brokers and scalpers are making a mint from the convoluted way the EC sells tickets. Pre-sales to fan clubs, naming sponsor employees and several other ‘gimmicky’ ways tickets are pre-sold. Something the city claims they ‘can do nothing about’ even though they could implement a city ordinance that bans out-of-state ticket sales until after tickets are sold to the general public.

So what benefit is there to the General Public?

Besides the trickling in of a few million to the CIP, the public really isn’t getting any economic benefit from the Events Center, except another bond to pay off, money that could be spent on better parks, roads, water and sewer, and host of all kinds of other things that actually improve quality of life in Sioux Falls besides a top-40 country concert or a bull riding circus. And most of these things we don’t have to pay for out of pocket after standing in line for 18 hours.

Okay, so we determined the economic impact to our personal wallets isn’t really there, so what about quality of life? Is overpaying and finding it difficult to purchase affordable tickets to the EC for a couple of concerts a year really worth our mortgage? Personally I don’t think it is, and that is why I voted against the facility. The math wasn’t just fuzzy, it just doesn’t add up.

But even those who voted for the place and are willing to go see the latest ass in cowboy hat play the place, do you find any value in the facility or how it may have improved your life? That will be the hard question we will be asking over the next couple of years, as tickets get more expensive, maintenance and operational costs go up and a possible lawsuit that we will probably lose over the siding come to surface.

So enjoy your new events center Sioux Falls commoner, because we sure are paying a Helluva a lot for it and not getting much in return except a mortgage bill.

SF City Council Public Input 1/6/15

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The continuing saga of Quit Claim Deeds and legal Occupancy Permits highlight our coverage of Sioux Falls City Council Public Input are a great way to start a new year.

Dan Daily actually thanks the Mayor for sending proof the city is operating the T Denny Sanford Events Center illegally after the last Shut-up and Listen session.

He points out two things,

1. The Spellerberg Quit Claim Deed has holes in it requiring it to be settled properly before work is done.

2.The other item adds a twist to the EC. The city may have issued themselves one temporary occupancy permit but was filed wrong making it null and void.

READ Dan’s testimony here: (Doc: QCD-OP )

What a city!

Events Center Siding update and other ‘little birdy’ news about Sioux Falls

A couple of sources confirmed to me today that the city definitely had a meeting last week to talk about re-siding the Events Center, and while it was decided that it will be re-done, the bigger question remains, “Who is footing the bill?”

Also, another bird landed on my shoulder and told me that the Parks and Rec department had to ‘recruit’ people to be on the Indoor Aquatics Center design committee after apparently the desired ‘kind’ of people did not apply. The city announced on November 24 they had 50 applicants, but I think some serious ‘scrubbing’ was going on. If this is true, I find it interesting that something that is supposedly so popular and needed that the city would have to recruit (cherry pick) people? I would have thought that would have been an easy list to fill.

Lastly, I guess all the grand development that is supposed to occur around the Events Center just had another bump in the road;

A recent auction failed to land a buyer for the property that used to be The Oaks Hotel & Convention Center. The land at 3300 W. Russell St. generated a lot of interest, according to Yvette VanDerBrink of VanDerBrink Auctions, but offers weren’t high enough . . .

Pretty sad when you can’t even auction off a blank plot of land less then a mile from the Events Center.