No better way to celebrate then to tear down some trees at Spellerberg Park for a $24 million dollar special interest indoor pool. Progress Baby!
Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓
The city attorney was asked recently at Democratic Forum what was going on with the Spellerberg pool MOU with the VA. His response, “We are in communications and working on it.”
At last week’s Spellerberg pool presentation the Parks director was asked about the MOU. His response, “We are in communications and working on it.”
This week they plan on starting site work for the pool and at yesterday’s press conference at Spellerberg Park the Mayor was asked about the MOU, His response, “Next question.” And when pressured to answer the question, he still did not respond and recommended that we “move along.”
After the press conference, Bruce and I were talking with a reporter from KSFY and explaining the MOU situation to him, and how we have been asking for a resolution for almost 3 years. As we were standing in the parking lot, the mayor slowly drove up in his truck with his window down and spouted out his window (in a most mature manner) “Thank You KSFY for coming today.” And drove off grinning sarcastically in his rearview mirror.
Mr. Mayor, you have been given plenty of opportunities to address the MOU, but instead you and city staff continue to blow it off and feed us the same line over and over, “We are working on it.”
Here’s the deal, I don’t give a rip if you get the MOU, if you think it is prudent to spend $24 million in tax dollars on a piece of property controlled by the Federal Government, so be it. But if you have no intention of attaining that document, instead of acting like a little kid yelling from your pickup window, why don’t you just tell us the truth, “I have no intention of attaining an MOU.” Instead all this smoke and mirrors and public pouting.
The resolution is simple. Tell the truth.
The Spellerberg Quit Claim Deed issue rose again during the aquatics presentation on March 23, 2015. This meeting could have taken place in 2012 with little changes. The city continues to dismiss the need to find out from the VA if they see any legal issues to once again breaking the rules governing the Quit Claim sale of the 1950’s.
To some this is no big deal and it might be just that. The problem is this, if the City continues to break the sale contract as they did with the retention ponds, the VA could demand the property back.
Anyone dealing with real estate law knows this simple fact, if a clause is written into a Quit Claim Deed, the clause can be exercised at a later date. It is so simple. It is so straight forward. In order for the city to retain “ownership” of the land, it has to follow the contract. It does not matter how old the contract is. The contract could have been written in 1650 and it would still be valid today.
Just calling an office and having a friendly chat with the janitor or today’s chief lawyer does not equal a signed written contract giving full ownership of the property. As of today, the VA still controls the land, the City is given the right to use it within murky guidelines.
Watch the Entire meeting below;
Other issues with the site
As I was attending the end of the meeting last night, I noticed quite a few supporters of the pool actually had some good concerns. Will there be enough parking (204 spots) when meets are held at the location? Why isn’t there a designated turn lane going into the facility? Why isn’t there a road connecting the VA and Pool parking lot (just sidewalks – which further proves the ‘communications’ with the VA are questionable at best). I also wondered why we need bleacher seating for 500 people? I thought this facility was to be used by everyone? Not just the swim teams? Why is the recreational pool so shallow at the deep end (3.5 feet)? It was pretty obvious from listening to supporters of the pool that they now feel they were left out of the process in planning this facility.
Of course, this cynic is not surprised. The city is in full ram-rod mode with $24 million dollars of our money, who cares about the VA or what the public thinks.
Now that the location, funding and plans have been drawn up the only thing that is left is to start building, uh wait, that’s right, we should probably show the public what we are doing at the last minute;
A neighborhood meeting to discuss the indoor aquatic center at Spellerberg Park will be held on Monday, March 23, 2015, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Oyate Community Center, 2421 West 15th Street (adjacent to Garfield Elementary School). The public is encouraged to attend.
At the neighborhood meeting, members of the project team from TSP, Inc., Counsilman-Hunsaker & Associates, and Sioux Falls Construction will present updated plans of the indoor aquatic center, park site plan improvements, and the upcoming construction schedule.
It was nice of the city and parks department to actually let us see what we are spending our $24 million on just a few weeks before they break ground. I’m sure a copy of the MOU with the VA will be on display at the meeting also
As I have been reviewing salary changes since 2011-2015 (post to come soon) I came across a ‘little’ nepotism. Seems former Parks Board member and City Councilor, Erpenbach was able to get her son a part-time job in 2011.
ERPENBACH I MAXWELL I 2011 I PARK & RECREATION I TEMPORARY ‐ SERVICE
That’s our tax dollars hard at work, paying city councilor’s kids to mow grass.
Kermit is asking for open government in Sioux Falls again and guess who doesn’t like it, again? Yup the old schoolmarm. She just doesn’t stop hating everything to do with open government. It’s as if we the people are too stupid or dense to understand the basics so she has to keep reminding us of her special place.
Kermit asks a very simple question about holding the super duper top secret Sioux Falls Park Board in the open in the Carnegie Town Hall so they could be broadcast for the Citylink viewers ability to watch.
Here we have a city department sucking and spending a major part of our city revenue with no oversight. We ask a question and they close down the meetings. The schoolmarm was once on the Park Board and still protects it from the Council. She still is so protective she doesn’t want Kermit to bring it up.
We also ask all to consider the questionably legal maneuver she has performed recently getting named to the Spellerberg Aquatics citizen committee. She got herself named to the committee to make decisions for her special interest then she turns around and votes as a councilperson on those very same proposals.
A few conflict of interest type issues to work out her and she does not want anyone to see it. Open government anyone? Next thing you know the schoolmarm will bring out her ruler to smack fingers for raising questions.
City Attorney David Pfeifle admits at Democratic Forum today that there is no written MOU with the VA – ‘Yet’
Well that is why I go to these things (even though my camera man was absent AND I told him I didn’t want to bother with it-my mistake) is to hear something new. To my surprise another attendee asks David about the Indoor pool MOU with the VA and if one exists in writing. David contends that the city believes they are following the terms of the Quit Claim deed by using that park and all city parks for ‘recreation’ but then admits that while he has had many discussions with the VA’s regional office about the deed, he has not yet obtained an actual written MOU with them and says he is waiting on the ‘site plan’ to present to the VA before seeking that document. More smoke and mirrors and kicking the can down the road, kind of reminds me of how they are handling the Events Center siding issue.
Also, pertaining to the pool, I spoke with a contractor today, who knows a little something about indoor pools, etc. and has spoken with some people associated with the building of the new aquatic center. He says the cost increase is due to not only being shown a much more expensive pool in 3D drawings before the election, but that an advanced HVAC system and special roof are probably contributing to the higher price tag. Remember when Parks Director Don Kearney talked about the ‘rusting’ issues? These are combatted with a special ventilation system.
Back to the Democratic Forum, David talked about a report (he got online) about the decline of civility in politics. He seemed to focus on one element of the report; bloggers and media’s negativity and angst. First off, he is citing a report that was filed almost 5 years ago, and secondly he makes no mention that the angst and disgust in the public and media is due to the rambid corruption, partisanship and lies that come from politicians and public officials, like David himself. The angst is a reflection of the ones that are supposed to be serving us. And may I also remind David that just as recent as Tuesday I addressed the council about their own civility towards each other. You can blame the media and blogs all you want, but when you lie and mislead the public while spending our tax dollars, you should expect us to call you out on it, and yes, be somewhat angry and less ‘civil’. The solution? Stop being corrupt.
I was also able to get in a couple of questions to David. The first one was about the Charter Revision Commission and why there is currently NO members. Basically I was asking where I could submit revision suggestions, he pointed me to an email address on the city website.
My second question was about how much money the city spends on outside legal counsel each year. He claimed to have no idea, but did say his department has a $50K a year budget. So I followed up with saying, “So what you are telling us is that each department has their own budget for legal counsel and you have no idea what the total is?” and he agreed. So know it seems they are hiding the true costs of outside legal counsel by burying it in each department’s budget. So much for transparency there.
I could say a lot more about what I heard today at Democratic Forum, but I am choosing to be civil.
Citizens for Integrity has uploaded ALL of the advocational sessions that the city held before the last municipal elections. It is interesting to listen to some of the things the Parks department was saying about the indoor pool BEFORE the election, and how their song and dance has changed now.
I left after the public testimony last night for a reason, I knew a majority of the council would get out their rubber stamps and approve the pool and ambulance service. Fortunately Med-Star will have their day in court.
But what get me every time is the continued sour grapes over Drake Springs pool, it’s one thing for the public to be misinformed about the situation at that park, but when the mayor and councilors say stupid crap they know isn’t true, (or maybe they don’t) it really chaps my hide.
Councilor Rolfing jokingly insisted that we budget extra money last night so we could fix the mistake we made at Nelson Park and build an indoor pool there. The crowd laughed and applauded. I laughed to, but not with you, but at you for your ignorance.
As our outside aquatics consultant said in their report to the city, there is groundwater issues at Nelson Park that would prevent us from building an indoor pool there, because of maintenance issues. Councilor Staggers even pointed out they are having maintenance issues already with the outdoor pool there.
So please, enough with Drake Springs already, your own consultant even said it was a bad idea. Thank God Stehly stopped the indoor pool at Nelson Park, just think of the millions we would be on the hook for now fixing it.