Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

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.

Full steam ahead on the indoor pool at Spellerberg

But wait, what about that Quit Claim deed?

The first public indoor pool is scheduled to open by fall 2016. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Aug. 11 at Spellerberg Park after voters cleared the way for the project in April’s citywide election.

“Now we’re able to move forward,” said Alicia Luther, the recreation manager for the parks and recreation department.

Moving forward starts quickly. The site, which includes the city’s oldest outdoor pool, will be demolished starting this month. The design work will take place this fall and construction on the new facility begins next spring.

There is no mention if the quit claim deed has been resolved with the VA. I do know that the city hired outside legal counsel for contracts, etc. involving the indoor pool. Part of that counseling was about obtaining a resolution with the VA (essentially getting written contract permission from them to build an indoor pool on land that has a quit claim deed attached to it). I hope the city is not foolish enough to have a ground breaking next Monday without having this detail resolved, of course they have done dumber things, for instance taking ownership of the EC before the siding issue was resolved. I know the city council will be having an executive session tomorrow, hopefully the deed will be discussed.

The council plans to take some authority on banning alcohol in the parks

If you read Item #40 on the council agenda, you will see the council is requesting to take some power away from the Parks Board;

(e) To review and make recommendations to the mayor and city council on any matters affecting

the establishment, improvement, maintenance, and regulation of the parks, including any

proposed revisions to this chapter 95. The issues shall be submitted to the board for

recommendation prior to official action; and

(f) Advise and assist the parks and recreation director relative to parks and recreation; .and

(g) Nothing in chapter 95 shall prohibit city council official action governing the use of the city’s public parks.

While this is a great first move by the city council, it will take a while to ban alcohol in the park. This is the 1st reading, and they can’t approve it until a second reading, then there is a 20 day waiting period before it takes affect, then the 1st & 2nd reading process starts all over for banning the alcohol. I still believe this could be done by an executive order by the mayor, but he seems to want to wash his hands of the situation. Drove by about 5 PM last night at Van Eps. Several people were ‘napping’ in the park. Actually it looked like a civil war battlefield.

Speaking of the Parks Board, I see long time member Mark Millage is being replaced;

Mark Steinborn; Parks and Recreation Board Appointed for a term from July 2014 through July 2019 (to replace Mark Millage).

It’s all about image with the Mayor


Who wants to see the Big Cat anyway?

Substance abuse? Homeless peeps? Rape? Theft? Assault? Drug dealing? That’s the least of MMM’s concerns when it comes to Van Eps Park;

Huether is also concerned about the image people get of Sioux Falls right off Minnesota Avenue in what he calls “The Grand Gateway”  to our town.

“Fly into our airport, come down Minnesota Avenue, go down 6th and 8th Streets to our beautiful Falls Park and as you’re driving by, you drive Van Eps Park and you go, ‘What was that?’  Reality is it’s a highly visible location and we’re going to make sure it shows well,” Huether said.

As I have said before, this isn’t a hard fix, but when you have a city administration more concerned about IMAGE over REALITY what do you expect?


Who is playing games with Van Eps Park?


Just another day at the park (the person who took this photo told me that they took this at 3 PM one day last week, and when they drove by again at 8 PM the guy in white was still passed out in the same spot.)

While the politicians from the city and county are pointing fingers and discussing what they can and cannot do at Van Eps Park (eliminating the alcohol) I believe the Mayor has the ultimate executive power to make Van Eps a dry Park, whenever he wants to;

Section 3.01  Executive power.

The executive and administrative power of the city shall be vested in a mayor.

Section 4.01  General provisions.

  1. Creation of departments. The mayor may establish city departments, offices, or agencies in addition to those created by this charter by filing an executive order which may also provide that any funds previously appropriated to perform a function which is being transferred may thereby be transferred to the new major organizational unit performing such function, with such order becoming effective after the expiration of 25 days from the date it is filed, unless action is taken to nullify the executive order by a vote of six (6) or more members of the city council. The mayor may prescribe the functions of all departments, offices, and agencies, except that no function assigned by this charter to a particular department, office, or agency may be discontinued or, unless this charter specifically so provides, assigned to any other.

As I understand it, the Mayor doesn’t need approval from the Parks Board or the City Council, he could file an order today. Now it would seem the city council could overturn his order with a 6/2 vote in next meeting, if they choose to.

Has the mayor ever used this power in the past, probably, but the one instance I can think of was when he authorized the purchase of snow gates for testing.

Let’s assume that he does have this power (if I am reading the ordinance correctly) so why hasn’t he used this authority? It seems him and Fiddle Faddle are playing games with the city charter (and state law) by throwing it back in the Park Board’s lap. Who appoints the Park Board? The Mayor.

So why has the city chosen to put temporary restrooms and more picnic tables at Van Eps? And what reason would the mayor have to drag his feet on this matter?

Honestly, I don’t know. I do know that some city councilors, county commissioners and park board members are not happy about the situation. The only thing I can think of is that they (Mayor’s office) are just biding their time with these people until the Good Shepard closes and The Bishop Dudley Shelter opens.

Funny how when it comes to entertainment facilities, nothing can be done fast enough, but drunks at a park out of site of ‘respectable’ Downtowners, our hands are tied. Yeah right.


He just couldn’t stop with the tennis courts


I guess I would have hired a more professional sign maker.

More problems at Van Eps park

Apparently there was another incident this morning at the troublesome park. A lady with no legs had her wheelchair stolen, and she was left there to fend for herself. If it were not for a county employee that saw her, she might have laid in the heat all day.

Some say just outlawing alcohol at the park would solve the problem. My suggestions?

1) Remove the portapotties

2) Remove the picnic tables

3) Cut down all the trees, or at least trim them to a point where they do not provide shade

Make the park undesirable to people who want to ‘hang’ and the alcohol banishment won’t make much of a difference.

Welcome to Baghdad, South Dakota


Image Submitted to the Argus Leader

Looks a lot like this famous landmark


While I support public art, I wonder how much money the public will be ponying up for this project;

The Arc of Dreams will start fundraising with an initial goal of $650,000 that will allow Lamphere to start sculpting. An additional $300,000 will be needed for landscaping and foundation work.

300K for the foundation and landscaping. Get your wallets out tax payer of Sioux Falls, this is gonna cost you.