Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

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.

How will the council vote on banning alcohol in SF parks?


The Sioux Falls city council is scheduled to vote on banning alcohol at Van Eps and Tower parks at Tuesday night’s meeting (Item #5).

I couldn’t really tell you how the vote will go. I know some are for it, some are against it. Lately I’ve been swaying to be against the ban. If it is okay for me to drink at Terrace Park during a fundraiser like ‘Jam Against Hunger’ why isn’t okay for people to drink at Van Eps? I guess I started to look at it as discrimination in a way. Besides, the cold weather will take care of the issue here shortly. A ban at this point is already too little, too late.

No matter if you agree with the ban or not, I find it ironic that the mayor has been on the soap box lately supporting the ban. I have said along he had the power to implement this band two months ago, instead he installs more picnic tables and porta-potties, and did nothing but let the county, the PD, the parks board and the city council deal with the situation, very slowly.

Thanks Mike for doing your job, avoiding making the ‘tough’ decisions.

Bike Trail Cops

Some friends shot this picture the other night, the SFPD has been doing this for years, I don’t have an issue with it. But I like the ironic difference between the bicycle cops and the cycle cops. Nothing like having a nice ride on the bike trail and being passed by a HD.


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.