Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

The mysterious Quit Claim Deed for Spellerberg Park

You could read this several different ways (DOC:Spellerberg Park info from Deed files-2 ) but I decided to pull out the finer points of the 23 page document that covers the original purchase by the VA and the city’s purchase of the park.

Honestly to tell you, if I was reading this as an attorney or judge, I would be on a fence. While you could easily argue as long as the city was using this park for recreational purposes (indoor pool) and not interfering with the business of the VA, they have a 100% right to build an indoor pool at Spellerberg, AND I would see NO legal issues or conflicts with the deed if the city builds an indoor pool at that location.

I’m sure I surprised everyone with that statement :)

I have never been against a public indoor pool, I just think there should be a larger private partnership with it and at a different location. Which brings me to item (b)

Who ‘determines’ if the city is using the park properly in reference to the deed? The Veteran’s Administration? They could almost make any case as to why the city build the indoor pool with interference to the VA.

This is why I think it is very important that both the city and the VA come to a legal agreement OR an amendment to this deed before dirt is moved. It would be the wise and prudent thing to do before building a $20 million dollar facility.

Image was cropped and highlighted for ‘specifics’ reasons, no text was edited or changed.



Surprise! Surprise!

In an amazing revelation (not really) the Sioux Falls School Board is going to keep the search for the Super – Super, Super secret;

Residents won’t know who will replace outgoing Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Pam Homan until this spring, when officials announce the new hire.

Of course, this is no surprise, this city and state lack transparency on all levels. Heck, the School District can’t even tell us the suggested names for new schools. It is really sad that a public education organization that takes our property taxes to fund them has to be so ultra secretive. It is a BAD example to the students. They are saying it is OKAY to make important decisions for taxpayers behind closed doors.

Shame on the Sioux Falls School Board.

Board member Doug Morrison said he would prefer to respect the privacy of the candidates who are applying for the position.

“I don’t know if there’s any advantage for us to release the names,” Morrison said.

C’mon Doug, this is a VERY PUBLIC job, I think the applicants know that. If they are unwilling to give their name to the public before getting hired, then they shouldn’t be applying in my opinion.

Keeping interviews closed to the very end could potentially increase the pool of applicants, Thoelke said.

“That really jeopardizes a guy’s job when he goes back home,” Thoelke said. “I would hope the public would be more interested in getting quality candidates than being involved in the final three.”

We are interested in QUALITY candidates, and that starts with letting the public also vet the candidates. Besides, if they are looking for a different job, they should be honest with their current employer and let them know they are applying for another job. Like I said above, this is a PUBLIC job, not private sector. The selection process should be PUBLIC!

City Golf Course management seeks ‘lost revenue’

Dakota Golf Management has made a lot of payola from the city over the years, providing a great service and making the golf courses profitable for them and the city. Bravo. Now they are looking to be compensated for lost revenue from the the airport reconstruction project.

First I will say, what about the lost revenue to the city? Are the taxpayers just supposed to suck it up? Well yeah. So why can’t a management company that has done very well from their years of successful management do the same? If the taxpayers of Sioux Falls are on the hook for lost revenue, they should be to. Want lost revenue? Go sue the Airport or suck it up, just like every other business in Sioux Falls that experiences lost revenue due to city street projects. City taxpayers shouldn’t be responsible for lost revenue experienced due to what a private entity (the airport) caused.

Using Winter Wonderland as an example for separation of church and state


As I was pondering the snow plow issue and all the crazy letters to the editor of people defending the violation of the establishment clause (because, you know, none of these people would be willing to paint Jesus Christ on the sides of their vehicles, well within their 1st Amendment rights, but defend it on government property). It reminded me of a discussion about what to name ‘Winter Wonderland’ when first proposed during the Munson administration. I remember there was a brief discussion when naming it, I think one of the suggestions was ‘Christmas at the Falls’. Not sure who got involved (City Attorney?) but I fondly remember someone within city government recommending it takes on a generic term not associated with a religious holiday. Smart move.

So what does this have to do with Jesus plows? It seems there are people who are intelligent enough about Constitutional law that work for the city (or worked for them at one time) to know you can’t cross that line while using tax dollars. So Huether shouldn’t act so surprised that this has become an issue. Of course, Huether knew nothing about local government or history of it until he started to run for mayor. History isn’t his strong suit.

As for the display itself, While I think it is a great idea, I think it could be done differently. Other cities do similiar displays but they have businesses volunteer the expense and labor and use it as an opportunity for teambuilding around Christmas. Workers and their families of the businesses that donate volunteer their time to set up the display then the city foots the bill of the electricity. They do have sponsors, but city employees do all the set-up. In fact, mostly public works department workers from the forestry division begin assembling the display starting October 1st. Which I find ironic in itself. One time when I questioned the city about project TRIM and why the city’s forestry department just didn’t trim trees that residences couldn’t reach in the boulevard, they replied, “We don’t have enough staff or enough time.” But taking almost two months to put up Christmas lights, plenty of time for. Just imagine how many trees could be trimmed in that same time period?

Once again, the city proves it’s priorities towards citizens and the law.


Spellerberg/city to appoint an aquatics focus committee

I guess my first focus would be to ask how we are coming on the quit claim deed, and whether the VA has torn up the document? But maybe the quit claim deed issue is kind of like the EC siding issue, if we don’t talk about it, maybe it will just go away.

Public Input Opportunities for Indoor Aquatic Center to Be Announced Monday


 What: A news conference to announce the creation of an aquatics focus committee to offer input on the design of the new indoor aquatic center
 When: Monday, November 10, 2014
2 p.m.
 Where:    City Hall Commission Room
224 West Ninth Street
 Who: Don Kearney, Director of Parks and Recreation
Tory Miedema, Park Development Specialist
 Why: The indoor aquatic center at Spellerberg Park is in the design phase of the project, and public input will help in the process. Come to the news conference to learn how Sioux Falls residents can contribute by participating in an aquatics focus committee. A project update also will be provided.

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?


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?


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?


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.