Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

ADA concerns at the new indoor aquatics center?

I recently heard from a citizen that was sitting in on discussions about the ADA needs at the new aquatic center as they slowly became unraveled. I guess not only have there been disputes about the ADA bathroom space, discussions about the therapy pool and the VA have come to almost a halt.
Not sure how much of this is true, but I find it ironic/hypocritical that a city that talks about diversity and helping our veterans with a therapy pool is bailing on proper compliance and promises. Also, if it is true, it goes back to going over budget on over promising a bigger pool for less money, and now they are cutting corners and nickel and diming other parts of the building. Mostly the disabled and veterans.
I’ll keep you updated the further I find out.

Another secret change order?

This time at the Midco Aquatic Center?

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Here we go again, the city is trying to sneak a major change order into the construction of the questionably legal indoor pool at Spellerberg Park.

Overflow Parking

No other parking lot at the Sanford Sports complex has this sign, of course, the other lots are full of participants vehicles to. I wonder if this is what they meant by letting people from the public use their facility when they were begging for that $500,000.00 from the city’s taxpayers?
tennis-folly

Will retiring Sioux Falls Police Chief Barthel tell us the ‘real’ story behind the Tuthill Ghost

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Hey, it’s October, who doesn’t like a good ghost story?

Councilor Anderson told me on Friday about a recognition they will be having for Chief Barthel (I believe in tomorrows city council meeting). I asked Kenny if the outgoing Chief will fess up to what happened NY’s Day at Tuthill Park before departing. I think Kenny’s response was ‘probably not.’

It has been almost 10 months and we still have no clues. But of course, the public hasn’t been allowed to see evidence either and the shooting was investigated internally (because no one was injured – are we sure?)

Hopefully this incident won’t be ‘haunting’ Doug into his retirement.

UPDATE: It’s a Pool Party (just not for the poor kids)

UPDATE: Here is the proposed changes (DOC); Poolratesproposed

I would first like to thank the Sioux Falls city council for releasing their pool rate plans at least 5 days in advance of the first reading, unlike the mayor’s office that releases their plans 5 minutes before a meeting.

I’m not sure what to think of the council’s proposed changes (I will want to see a more in depth document after the agenda is released this afternoon at 4:59 PM)

Now offering an alternative, the council plans to present a proposal of its own next week that includes more modest rate hikes on season passes and establishes one-size fits all passes that can be used at any public swimming facility in Sioux Falls.

. . . the council intends to develop a seasonal pass system that would offer access to the entire public pool system – indoor and outdoor. A $250 family annual pass, for instance, would entitle a family of five to year-round pool access, and a summer-only family pass would be $80, up from the $70 pass families paid this year.

I like where this is going, and I know the council has been in discussions for months about how they would tackle the indoor/outdoor debacle. It’s the FREE passes that are hitting a major snag. I support keeping them, but I suggested to the council that people who apply for them should be asked to give a free will offering to the Parks Department of any amount if they ‘can’. Not sure if that will be in the final package (or if the genius’ over in the attorney’s office nixed it?) Either way, whether you support FREE passes or not, if the passes do get approved, it should be eligible at ALL of the pools (indoor and outdoor). The councilors differ in their opinions on that;

Continuing to provide passes at no charge is about ensuring the entire community has access to the entire pool system – indoor and outdoor, said Councilor Kenny Anderson Jr., who helped draft the pending proposal with input from his colleagues.

“This is something that will allow our youth to access all of our public pools in Sioux Falls,” he said. “As far as I was concerned, all of our public pools are public pools and people should have a selection of what pools they would like to go to.”

Exactly! (Even though Kenny and Michelle have been making a habit lately of changing their minds when it comes to the final vote after telling their colleagues in private that they support something). Hopefully Kenny holds steady on this one. The way I look at it is if we are subsidizing the outdoor pools in the exact manner as the indoor pool, what does it matter where they use their pass? Like I have said in the past, I don’t use the public pools (I can’t swim) but I have no issue with subsidizing them, even for FREE use, I use the bike trails and other parks frequently, and I feel we are all in this together. But some councilors feel that the indoor pool is too ‘special’ of a place for the poor kids to swim;

“I would prefer right out of the gate (to see) no free annual passes for the indoor pool,” Karsky said. “Once it’s free, it’s hard to go back because then you’re taking something away.”

Yeah, Dean, those free pass kids might dirty up the water too much, because as councilor hat hater Rex Rolfing said, “for some of those kids, it’s the only bath they get all week.” Maybe with their free pass we could give them a bar of soap also?

Why don’t you just admit it Dean, the indoor aquatic center isn’t being built for ‘those kids’ it’s being built for those who can afford it. Why else would we put in bleachers? So the special interest parents can come watch their kids compete. I don’t want this to be a ‘special interest’ pool, I want this to be like all the other public pools, a community pool used by all, young and old, rich and poor. If Snow Fox or any other special interest has an issue with that, they can buy the pool or build their own (BTW, still waiting to hear how much they are kicking in for a sponsorship at the place. They must have blown their wad on consultants and t-shirts before the last election).

Parks Director Don Kearney said while the graduated fee schedule that has season passes escalating through 2018 does more to account for rising operating costs than leaving rates static for long periods of time, the council’s plan won’t do much to reduce the subsidy the pool system requires.

As for cost recovery, puuuleaze! You should have thought of that before building an indoor pool that is going to cost well over a million to operate each year! A project that Sanford was willing to build, taking taxpayer’s off the hook. Don’t come crying later that we have this monster subsidy because the consultants, city attorneys and finance officers are bad at math and planning. We were telling you that before the election, just another dirty little cover up by the Parks Department and Mayor’s office.

I have a feeling that the second reading of this proposal will be a firestorm, not just from the public but from the council and administration. Brace yourself. We will all probably need a good bath after the dust clears.

Ice Storm Tree Re-plantings?

A South DaCola Foot Soldier contacted me last night asking me to try to remember if a promise was made to us about the ice storm. He wondered if the city promised to replant some trees that were taken down due to the ice storm. I couldn’t remember. I also couldn’t remember how much FEMA money we received, but after checking some news stories, it looks like $4.9 million.

A city councilor contacted the city’s forestry director, Duane Stahl, and he said besides the HelpLine and the Argus Leader teaming up to voluntarily replant trees, the city had no plan. So I guess the $4.9 million in FEMA money went to out of state contractors to cut down our trees but to not replace.

Another $500K wasted taxpayer investment for the ‘specials’ – Huether Match Pointe Indoor Tennis Center

Tennis Center summer hours

Tall weeds on north side of tennis building

Litter, weeds and quack grass

As you can see, the doors are locked unless you have an appointment. I guess they are finding out operating a facility like this isn’t very lucrative when you only have 102 members. Heck, they can’t even hire a teenager to pick up the garbage and mow the weeds at the joint. Better call code enforcement, those weeds look noxious and that garbage could be considered a ‘public nuisance’. I wonder how long before Great Life buys this place on a auction?

We bitch that the kids have no place to swim in the winter yet close the city pools the hottest week of the year

The irony and the political posturing couldn’t be more obvious;

Sioux Falls public pools will begin to close at the end of this week. Come to the news conference to learn how pool closing dates are determined, how staffing levels are affected by college start dates and fall high school activity start dates, and which pools will close first across Sioux Falls.

So now the sour grapes of the late school start date are starting to affect city politics. Wild Water West must be giddy. I can’t tell you how stupid this is. We complain that the (snowfox team) can’t swim in the winter, yet we close the city pools weeks before the first leaf falls from the trees. This obvious political ploy is disgusting.

Nothing to see in Heritage Park, move along

Seems Heritage Park still has some trouble;

Complaint calls about Heritage Park have ranged from illegal use of alcohol to fights, and even public urination. It’s a situation that has property owners in the area fed up.

We spoke with Dwaine Thill who owns two houses across the street from Heritage Park, and he says the indecent and illegal behavior at Heritage Park is only getting worse. He feels the close proximity to the Bishop Dudley House is leading to an increase of people at the park. Thill says he’s concerned not only for his property, but keeping his tenants as well.

Photos taken from a neighbor in the area show people drinking alcohol and even urinating on her property.

“It’s the scrud of the city, coming over here and they have a place to congregate, drink, shoot up, and whatever else they want to do out there,” Property Owner Dwaine Thill said.

But not according to the SFPD. Just ignore the number of calls, the neighbors, the violations and that we have a homeless shelter close by;

In June and July, police responded to 141 calls at the park.  Even though the crimes at the park are minor, Clemens says police are keeping an eye on the area to prevent any dangerous situations. While some people are calling Heritage Park the new Van Eps Park, Clemens says this isn’t the case.

I think Mr. Thill has the best suggestion to fixing the problem;

Even so, Thill wants the city to do something about it.

“If the mayor wants to have them up in his area, more power to him. I’d like to have him live beside them awhile,” Thill said.

The streets in that neighborhood are so nice, the homeless would be scared to walk on them.

The City Council will have the final say on Pool Rates

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The Sioux Falls Park Board kinda met on July 21, 2015 in a very small meeting room in the headquarters building. Not only is it hard for the public to find these meetings but apparently the board members have problems driving down to them. Five of the members called in to join them. We guess it’s alright but it would have been better is it was televised on CityLink and internet so all could really join in.

Cameraman Bruce was able to get a very clear and concise answer from the board concerning the proposed pool rate hikes. “Let’s park the decision with the City Council and get it out of here!” (FF: 7:00 )

So it’s up to the Council to make the final rate decisions. If you want to make a difference you have to show-up. If you want to be part of the solution you have to be there. If you want to change bad policy you have to use your voice and body to show your election officials you want answers.