Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

Sioux Falls City Councilors at Dem Forum • 4/5/2019

Janet Brekke, Theresa Stehly and Pat Starr bring their Sioux Falls SD citizen first messages to a joint Friday Democratic Forum lunch crowd on April 5, 2019.

The past TWO Parks Board meetings have been videotaped, you can’t watch them HERE under the RECENT tab. There has never been a formal press release or announcement of this to the public or city council. I found out from a personal email from Jason Reisdorfer.

Cathy B. Makes a pitch to help non-profits

During the last Parks Board Meeting, Cathy asks the board to discount the booth rates during festivals in city parks for non-profits. She confessed this wasn’t the first time she asked, but was told she had to go thru the proper channels (we will get to that in a moment).

Cathy showed the board how other cities charge non-profits less during festivals. Seems like a great idea. They did their normal ‘Thanks for your time.”

But what I found interesting was Cathy was told she needed to go thru the Parks Board first before the city council. I guess they have to put their ‘blessing’ on it.

Hogwash!

The Sioux Falls city council is the policy making body of the city (it’s written in charter) not the Parks Board (volunteers) or the Parks Director (appointed). The city council could easily move to change the non-profit rate, with or without the ‘blessing’ of the parks board, the director or even the mayor.

Steps into the River, Huge Fail

I understand we are having massive flooding, so this post isn’t really about the flooding, but about why this project was way over the top. You can READ HERE all my posts going back to the beginning of the project 9 years ago and how something modest turned into a monster overnight due to a greedy developer making legal threats over a contract signed in the middle of the night with Mayor Munson.

That all aside, I did fight to keep the project modest, speaking at city council meetings and talking to councilors (Kermit was the only one that agreed). One of the options discussed, which would have been very reasonable and would have prevented any long term damage like the current situation we have was redoing the trail extra wide (like they did) and landscaping the entire area with natural rock and natural flowers and plants lining the river. Not only would have it been beautiful, it would have been very low maintenance. Instead we wasted millions on high maintenance infrastructure, as you can see above. And now we want to put a $2 million dollar effigy to egos on top of it all.

When a city decides to do projects like this, they really need to look at the long term costs of building such structures. I don’t even want to know what it will cost to repair all the damage from this latest flood. If we would have went with plan B, as I suggested, cleanup would have been a couple of people with rakes and some re-seeding, but instead we have Bread & Circus.

Overlook Café Contract appears to be a ‘done deal’ before council even approves it

Okay, I will be the first to admit, Stensland Dairy was the only company to bid on the Café contract, so it would seem inevitable that they would get the contract. They also have a very good reputation and I’m sure they will do a good job.

But what if the only bid was ‘Bob’s Taco Cart’? Would the city automatically give the contract to them? Probably not.

I found it ironic at the Feb 20th Parks Board meeting Stensland already had a menu (with pricing) done and a Catering agreement with an independent chef before they approved the contract. As the Parks Board has stated in the past, their approvals are ONLY preliminary, the City Council has to approve the final contract. They also will get approval next week on a beer and wine license.

So I guess if you are the only bidder, have a menu ready to go and a alcohol license before the contract is approved by the council, they have no choice to approve it? Talk about getting the cart in front of the horse. I think it would be funny to send a message to city administrators (parks, licensing, planning etc.) and reject the contract based solely on the fact that they didn’t go to the council first before doing everything else.

UPDATE: New Innovation Director ‘Motivated’ by bloggers

I almost had a little tear in my eye when I read the below FB post by Jason Reisdorfer, the newly anointed Innovation Director with the city. He also believes God helped him get the job. It’s always important to thank the ‘Big Guy’.

As for getting things done, not thrilled about 5G, but that had more to do with lining Thune’s pockets and the Feds FORCING on us! Hopefully a Democratic Congress will do a full investigation of how the telecoms are screwing municipalities on the deal.

UPDATE: I was hoping Jason is motivated to start filming the Parks Board meetings as he told me he was working on a solution, and it looks like Jason and God made it happen: WATCH HERE.

Parks Board Member suggests we build whole new clubhouse after golf cart shed burns down

And they wonder why we wanted these meetings recorded?

During last Wednesday’s Parks board meeting there was a discussion about a temporary golf cart shed for 2019. One of the parks board members suggested OR asked if it would just make more sense to build a new clubhouse when rebuilding the shed (I’m not sure who said this, because they have yet to video record the meetings so we could tell who is talking). In Director Kearney’s defense he basically said that it needs to be looked at in the CIP budgeting process this year. Makes you wonder if something was promised to the new golf management contractor and a few people on the board seem to know what that is.

So if my unattached garage burned down by accident, do you think my homeowners insurance would give me enough money to rebuild my house? Hell no. If the insurance company pays for rebuilding a simple shed, then we rebuild the shed. We don’t go into full building mode. There is nothing wrong with the Elmwood clubhouse, this isn’t MCC, and we really are not competing with them. I have felt for a long time we should either sell the golf courses or just charge a flat lease. The city doesn’t need to be in the golf business anymore, especially with so many regional courses. I felt the same way about the indoor pool.

Speaking of the indoor pool, I find it interesting that while this is a government holiday, the Midco is open, but the libraries are NOT. With school in session today, where are a lot of the kids supposed to go for after school programming while waiting for parents to get off work? Maybe they can come and swim for free at the Midco?

How is the Midco Aquatic Center doing?

I was just thinking last week, how is that place doing financially? How much are we subsidizing?

We haven’t had an update in a very long time.

There is also a flurry of rumors circulating that;

• The major sponsor is NOT happy with their investment . . .

• 2019 membership renewals are not good . . .

• Sanford is planning to build an Olympic sized, competitive pool at the Sports Complex . . . (gee, what a concept!)

Not sure if any of this is true, but a financial report would help to clear up any of these rumors.

Parks Board switches meeting to last Friday instead of this Tuesday

The Sioux Falls Parks Board has been famous for jumping their meetings around to different locations and different dates and having the meetings on Tuesday’s at 4 PM at the same time as the City Council Informational. The council has taken issue with this since they cannot attend the meetings which in the past have not been recorded until now. The suggestion has been that one of the most powerful boards of the city (besides planning) should meet at Carnegie and have their meetings in front of the cameras, which just might happen.

During the last (recorded) meeting they talked about how the meetings will now be held on Wednesdays on the 3rd week of the month (I believe starting in 2019). So will they record the meetings in front of cameras? Who knows, since no one at this point has discussed this except in a Friday meeting that no one knew about, and the audio hasn’t popped up yet.

And why the mysterious change of the meeting date last week?

I guess I have never really understood the high level of secrecy and elitism surrounding the Parks Board. But I’m sure for those who serve on the board they don’t understand why transparency and openness is important.

E-Bikes Good, but let’s go a step further

A few years ago at a neighborhood meeting with former mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut, David Z had a fantastic idea. Why not make the bike trail 24/7 instead of closing it at 10 PM. His argument was simple, many people use it as a form of transit. Many people work different hours in our community. With the proper lighting on bicycles, why can’t commuters use it 24/7?

I would like to take it further, and start installing solar lighting. The Parks department already plows the trail in the winter (thank you). So why not make it functional all the time? It should be explored.

I agree the E-Bike ordinance is a good idea, now let’s truly modernize our bike trail.

Yankton Approves New Pool

This doesn’t surprise me. I figured it would pass, by at least 60% of the vote, it got over 66%. Even with about a $100 a year property tax increase on $100K valuation. I think the key to the approval was the HIGH voter turnout;

Total turnout was 43.3 percent of active registered voters in the city.

With only two precincts and a single vote issue, this is pretty impressive.

The plan for the pool is also, IMO, fiscally responsible. For around $14 Million they are going to build on the existing site with a combination outdoor/indoor facility. They also garnered around $6 million in pledged private funds with $1 million for naming rights from the Huether Family Foundation (The Yankton city commission has to vote on those naming rights).

While the property tax increase is a little steep, it is truly an investment in the community.

So what is the difference between what Yankton and Watertown has done compared to our public indoor pool? Unlike these communities, we have plenty of options when it comes to indoor pools privately with attached fitness centers. I have often thought the city should have just partnered with the Sanford Sports Complex and built it out there.

The Sioux Falls Parks and Rec department is gearing up on another master plan for their parks. Frank Olson pool is way past it’s life and there has been some talk that they want to replace it with either and indoor pool or spray park. I think they should just build a new outdoor pool. Until the Midco Aquatic Center can break even, we have NO reason to pursue another public indoor pool.