Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

Another wealthy developer and land owner in SF looking for a handout?

So the Friessen family has owned the Lake Lorraine property for over 35 years and has kept it a very PRIVATE place. A 22 acre lake that the public was strictly not allowed to use. But that all may change, with the help of your tax dollars of course;

Developers are hoping to form a public/private partnership with the city of Sioux Falls to maintain and program the park and train system around the lake.  They’re visiting similar communities in Minneapolis to see how it’s been done there.

“We’re also exploring opportunities with the city’s Live Well program, which the city is promoting right now and they’d like to make this the pilot program,” Van Buskirk said.

This is the first I have heard of this proposal, but like most plans the Parks and Planning department makes, they keep it top secret until they can spring it on the uninformed council. I see they have even used our tax dollars already going to Minneapolis doing ‘research’.

Don’t get me wrong, I think having a public lake in the center of the city is a great idea, in fact I have suggested that Spellerberg be turned into a natural filtration pool. And a trail around the lake would be great. But how is this going to work? Are the Friessens going to give the lake to the city? Will they cease paying property taxes on 22 acres of water? How much will it cost taxpayers to maintain this lake? Remember the Soukup family’s ‘gift’ a few years ago?

This private development will do very well for itself, I think they should maintain the lake themselves and continue to pay the taxes on it. If they want to open it to the public, great, but I think the city needs to get out of the business of taking these supposed ‘gifts’.

Besides, if the family chooses to maintain the lake themselves, they can profit from having different rental activities on the lake.

Move over pickleball

Just when you thought our tax dollars for Parks and Rec couldn’t be spent on something more ridiculous, another special interest steps to the plate;

One organization is hoping to bring a whitewater park to Sioux Falls.

Mitchell Joldersma is the president of Sioux Falls Whitewater Park. His organization is looking to clean up the Lien Park riverfront to bring a whitewater park to the city.

The group was at Lien Park today in a clean up effort along the river. Joldersma says they want to make the river clean so that more people will get out and enjoy it.

While the concept of a whitewater park may be new to the Sioux Falls area, they are gaining popularity across the country. A whitewater park has either one or multiple features of water shooting down hydraulics and makes waves to either surf or tube down.

The group’s board members are setting up a raffle to help fund the cost of the park. The raffle will start in December and run through June of 2015.

Once the logistics of the park come together, Joldersma says they will present the plans to the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation board. From there, they will decide how to move forward.

I will give the group credit, they went and cleaned the area themselves, are trying to raise money for the project privately and are putting a plan together on their own. Have at it. But like most things that involve our public parks, the Parks department will be ponying something up for the project, make no mistake, so another special interest group of a very small percentile can have their play things. I don’t fault the group, that is normal operating procedure with the Parks Department, they love growing their budget, especially after taking a hit last night on the old ice rec center closure.

Just over the last couple of years the city has either spent or budgeted for;

Pickleball courts

Indoor Tennis

Indoor Pool

Kayak launches

Dog Parks

You get the gist. Yet, as a lady with MS testified last night at the city council meeting, plenty of money to entertain ‘dogs’ but no money for Paratransit. I wonder if SAM will have a bus route and boat racks on their buses so people can go rafting at Lien park?

OMG!

Mayor Huether responds to councilor Jamison’s comments about ‘bearing some responsibility for creating a party atmosphere’ at Van Eps. You can hear Huether say under his breath while his microphone is on ‘Oh My God’

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What Indoor Tennis Facility?

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The New ‘Anonymous Indoor Tennis Facility (that the Huether Family may or may not have given money to)

Has our mayor suddenly had a change of heart about putting his name on the Indoor Tennis Facility? Has he realized that putting his name on a facility that received over $500K in public funds might be a tad unethical, or at least a little tacky and pretty classless for a sitting mayor?

Maybe.

During the interview with one of the facility’s board members on Inside Stormland TV, Angela asked him what was going on with the place. I noticed a few weeks back that the foundation had already been laid, and the steel frame is up, but I didn’t remember a groundbreaking. Certainly Mr. Golden shovel in his hands at all times would have made a big deal out of a groundbreaking. Well there hasn’t been one yet (scheduled for Tuesday – a day after the EC lighting ceremony).

What I found strange was, he had a groundbreaking for the Spellerberg pool before the old one even got torn out, yet has waited to have a groundbreaking on the tennis facility until after construction has already started, the same week all the EC baloney is going on.

But what was even more interesting about the interview was when Angela asked about naming rights, to which they responded, “The Huether family is the sponsor, but they are unsure of what they are going to name it.” (paraphrasing)

Yeah, right.

Not sure what they are going to name it either, but I’m pretty sure it will start with an ‘H’.

Council fixes problem mayor created

I don’t whether to applaud the council, or just ask them what took so damn long? After watching the Mayor’s press conference about Van Eps park, and all the back patting he received last night at the council meeting for being ‘engaged’ in the Van Eps process, I just have to remind people of a few things.

1) Mayor Huether is the one who put more picnic tables and porta-potties at Van Eps, in an essence, attracting the bees.

2) Instead of removing the benches and bathrooms when he saw problems arise down there, he left them.

3) Instead of issuing an emergency executive order to ban alcohol temporarily, until the council had time to look at the issue he sat on his hands and waited for the Parks Board and City Council to fumble through the ordinance process, which took a couple of months.

4) Even now that the alcohol is banned, the SFPD and the administration have no plan when the drinkers move.

I have said all along the implementation of a drinking park had nothing to do with the safety or care of the attendees, this had to do with Downtown developers complaining about the homeless drunks around their businesses.

How will the council vote on banning alcohol in SF parks?

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The Sioux Falls city council is scheduled to vote on banning alcohol at Van Eps and Tower parks at Tuesday night’s meeting (Item #5).

I couldn’t really tell you how the vote will go. I know some are for it, some are against it. Lately I’ve been swaying to be against the ban. If it is okay for me to drink at Terrace Park during a fundraiser like ‘Jam Against Hunger’ why isn’t okay for people to drink at Van Eps? I guess I started to look at it as discrimination in a way. Besides, the cold weather will take care of the issue here shortly. A ban at this point is already too little, too late.

No matter if you agree with the ban or not, I find it ironic that the mayor has been on the soap box lately supporting the ban. I have said along he had the power to implement this band two months ago, instead he installs more picnic tables and porta-potties, and did nothing but let the county, the PD, the parks board and the city council deal with the situation, very slowly.

Thanks Mike for doing your job, avoiding making the ‘tough’ decisions.

Bike Trail Cops

Some friends shot this picture the other night, the SFPD has been doing this for years, I don’t have an issue with it. But I like the ironic difference between the bicycle cops and the cycle cops. Nothing like having a nice ride on the bike trail and being passed by a HD.

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The Mayor’s “Super Secret Committee” for the indoor pool

As I mentioned before, during the indoor pool groundbreaking press conference (demolition) Mayor Huether mentions a secret group that assisted him on getting the outdoor pool vote to fail at Spellerberg. He also peddles the lie that 70% of the voters wanted an indoor pool at Spellerberg. Not sure how he can claim that, because that wasn’t even on the ballot. Many people who voted NO told me that they were either confused by the ballot language, or they simply wanted Spellerberg to be a greenspace park without any pools. But back to the secret group he announced;

Rolly Samp (Sioux Falls Attorney)

Dale Froelich

Dave Volk (Former State Treasurer and Janklow minion)

Brett Bradfield (USF)

Jon Sommervold (The Great Hall at the Pavilion is named after his mother)

Mike Crane (Sioux Falls Developer who has development investments with Cindy Huether)

Kathy Clark (Regional VP of Commercial Banking at Wells Fargo)

I scratch my head as to ‘what’ this secret group did. As you know before the election there were many complaints about the misleading videos and ballot language. Were these people behind the campaign of falsehoods? Speaking of white lies, Councilor Karsky peddles the ‘debt free’ mantra in the press conference also.

Is it time for Parks Board meetings to be Video taped at Carnegie?

Besides the fact that the council ramrodded every agenda item through without much discussion at last night’s city council meeting (Kermit was absent and attending a conference – which was also ironic that they scheduled an executive session in his absence).

They also approved the transit board recommendations. Two things were missing from that discussion; NO transfers and NO free ridership under a certain age. They also didn’t address the poorly managed dispatch of Paratransit which is probably very costly to the system, but oh well, when councilor Staggers is out of town, questions don’t get asked and we rumberstamp much faster.

Speaking of the rubber stamp, councilors Karsky and Erpenbach seemed to have lost theirs for a moment last night when the council proposed an amendment to overstep the Parks Board. It’s really a simple argument, the city council is an elected board and should always supersede any appointed board, like the Parks Board.

But councilor Erpenbach (a former Parks Board member) felt that the council should not be allowed to overstep their recommendations. Once again, Michelle couldn’t be more wrong. Remember, they are appointed by the Mayor, and they aren’t your average Joe Six-Pack sitting at Van Eps Park drinking a cold one on a Wednesday morning. One of the members for example is the wife of mega-super-TIF-sucking developer Craig Lloyd.

So I ask Michelle, if this board is so precious and powerful, why aren’t the decisions they are making being recorded on video at Carnegie? I suggest the next resolution the city council proposes is that ALL appointed board meetings be recorded at Carnegie, including Ethics board and city council working sessions. If they are so important, they can show their importance by being transparent.

Also, you can’t miss public input from last night, the mayor was ‘forgiven’ for being a jerk by a citizen.

Mayor and Parks Director continue to peddle the indoor pool falsehood

I found this statement by the Parks Director and recently in the Mayor’s budget address to be dubious at best;

In the fall of 2016, this first-of-its-kind facility will open to the public, debt free.

“I’m not sure many cities across the country would be able to say that they can do that on a $20 million project. So we’re really proud of that, to be able to pay cash for it. And we’re also working on the operating side too; to try to minimize the amount of taxpayer dollars that have to go towards maintaining the facility either,” Kearney said.

Call it what you will, but his statement is NOT TRUE. Maybe partially, but let’s look at the facts. There will still be the Levee Bond debt when we open this facility. The city TOOK the repayment on that debt and used it to pay for the pool. That debt is and will still be owed when the doors open. We WILL NOT be ‘debt free’ and I am amazed they would blatantly lie about this. It seems this administration is getting bolder with what they are telling the public. As for the operating side, I am happy to see they are trying to find sponsors. I am assuming that since an Avera representative was at the groundbreaking (demolition) they will probably be a major sponsor. Either way, whether we have a sponsor or not, it will still cost around $700,000 a year to operate.

I did not attend the press conference, but I heard the mayor attributed a ‘secret committee’ to get this done. Wonder if that ‘secret committee’ knows anything about the quit claim deed? And who calls a ‘demolition’ a ‘ground breaking’ ceremony? Still laughing about that.