Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

No more steps in the River

So I guess the city council is about to debate expanding the River Greenway. The steps into the River came up again. Please, we don’t need this expensive, Roman like structure to continue along the river. This stupid design was cooked up by Jeff S. Cherapa and Mayor Munson in some middle of the night, backroom deal in which Smilin’ Dave promised all kinds of stuff to Jeff (in which he got – because he threatened to sue if he didn’t).

But let’s face it, the steps into the river are not only expensive, they look ridiculous, are not environmentally friendly, are unsafe and do NOTHING to clean up the river.

Trust me, this wasn’t the first time I have brought this up, when they were being originally proposed I said it was stupid.

Why?

Well not only would you save millions, it would look better and help with runoff if you designed it differently. My idea then, and now has not changed. You line the banks with natural/native, organic flowers and plants that help the runoff. You widen the bike trail, and you put in multiple mini-parks with benches and more natural landscaping. Not only would it look a 1oox better, it is environmentally friendly and saves millions in concrete expenses. On top of that the flowers along the banks act as a natural barrier to the very toxic waters, which helps safety.

The geese also need to be driven away using air cannons to force them to nest elsewhere. I have often thought spending over $10 million on a river greenway that is covered in goose sh*t really misses the mark. From Falls Park all the way to Cliff Avenue the geese nest and cover the trail in crap. The noise from the air cannons annoys them and gets them to move without killing them or hurting them.

I have also said that signs about the toxicity of the river need to be put up at Falls Park and spots where people might want to take a dip along the greenway. A bright yellow or red sign with a skull and crossbones poison symbol would do the trick. I have often thought if you made people aware of the high levels of E-Coli in the river, they would not go in there. People, it is like swimming in your toilet after you dropped one. Stop doing it!

So please. Let’s use fiscal smarts, environmental smarts and safety knowledge to expand the River Greenway and not steps into a river a couple of clowns cooked up in the basement of city hall.

$200K Magically Appears on Consent Agenda

Remember when I was talking about the $200K parks study in the consent agenda? Well guess what? It was NOT in the 2018 budget. See, technically anything in the consent agenda it must be in the budget the year before. Somehow the Parks department decided to ‘scrounge’ money from other projects to come up with the $200K. That is not how it is supposed to work.

Last night at the council meeting, councilor Pat Starr thankfully pulled the item out of the consent agenda and had it deferred so the Parks Director could explain 1) where he got the money 2) why it wasn’t budgeted for in the proper process 3) why do they need this study.

Bravo Starr!

We will be hearing about the study in an upcoming informational . . . this outta be good.

Tragedy at Falls Park

As some may or may not know there is a wrongful death suit playing out against the city after the the recent tragedy at Falls Park. Some in the legal world are watching this closely. Why?

Well, see, a few years back a guy jumped in a South Dakota public lake and suffered a spinal cord injury. He sued. He won (around $11 million). Next legislative session state law was changed so if you do something like that in a public park in South Dakota you can’t sue the state.

Fast forward to 2018. It will be curious what angle will be taken in this new case. How will the victim’s attorney (I hear it is Brendan Johnson) prove the city was liable for not warning visitors about the dangers of foam at Falls Park? How will personable responsibility play out in this case?

Some have argued that no amount of safety measures can protect people from their own ignorance at Falls Park. Maybe they are right?

There have been some good suggestions like memorial ‘Why Die’ signs. Others have suggested the signs warning of the dangerous waters were larger. Some have said fencing and special platforms. I have been suggesting for several years we have signs warning of the extreme toxicity of the water. It’s one thing to warn people about water turbulence, it’s whole other thing to warn people that the water is actually poisonous. I guess the EPA and the state DENR suggested this also to the former mayor and he refused to put up the signs because he didn’t want to ‘scare’ tourists. Isn’t that the point?

This case will be one to watch.

The Public Assurance Alliance will be funding the legal defense, and if they lose will have to pay out the claim. I suspect this may go all the way to the SD Supreme Court.

Falls Park Safety Recommendations

Falls-Park-Safety

If you read the report above (click on link) you will see they are recommending building viewing areas with railings. While I like the recommendations, I will will await the questions from the city council.

BTW, why did it take a new mayor before we moved forward with this? You don’t have to answer that question

Are the Sioux Falls Parks Board Meetings moving to Wednesdays?

It appears the Parks Board is not only moving to a different location (as it does every month), but now they have also done a switcheroo on the day of the week. Not sure if this is a permanent thing or not?

Regular meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month, with a quorum of four board members being necessary for a meeting.

SIOUX FALLS PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

4:00 p.m. Regular Board Meeting

Kenny Anderson Community Center, 3701 E. 3rd St.

No highlighting of the change of date/day of the week on the above agenda notice.

No mention in the May 2018 meeting minutes that June’s meeting will be on a different day of the week than usual.

Could it have something to do with this?

6. New business

a. Golf update – Justin Arlt – Landscapes Unlimited

***Unofficial minutes to be approved at June 19, 2018 meeting

Report of Director of Parks and Recreation

a. Kearney handed out the monthly financial reports from Landscapes Unlimited. These reports will be provided each month going forward, along with 2017 year-to-date actuals from 2017 for comparison purposes. The market manager for Landscapes Unlimited, Justin Arlt, will attend the June Board meeting to give an update on upcoming special events, clubhouse updates, as well as a report on rounds and revenues through May and answer any questions about golf course operations at that time.

b. 2019 Operating Budget – Kelby Mieras

This could also prove to be interesting.

Sioux Falls City Council NEEDS to listen to this Parks Board Meeting!

It seems we are running into some gray area when it comes to who will destroy Ash trees in the boulevard (parking strip – city owned property). I really think it is time the city council proposes an ordinance that makes the city responsible for removing these trees. (It costs around $1,000 to remove a full grown healthy tree, the cost goes up once it is diseased and brittle).

This could cost homeowners (adjacent property owners) millions to take care of city property if the council doesn’t act now!

Listen HERE. First meeting at the top.

Kudos #3 for the TenHaken Administration today!

And the hits keep coming. Three DaCola ‘wins’ in one day for the TenHaken administration. His Deputy COS announced today that all the audio files for the Parks Board since 2016 are online with a promise to eventually go full audio/video.

See, transparency isn’t that hard, you just have to talk to the right programmers.

Sioux Falls City Council needs to reform Project TRIM, ASAP!

The Emerald Ash Bore will soon be chomping down on trees all over Sioux Falls, it’s inevitable. Some of those trees are in city parks and in the city owned parking strips (boulevards) throughout the city.

In the above video, City of Sioux Falls Parks Director Kearney explains that the city will ultimately have to eliminate most of those Ash trees. The city seems to be taking a proactive approach to the problem.

This would be a perfect opportunity for the city council to tackle Project TRIM reform. During the last municipal campaign, Janet Brekke recommended that Project TRIM gets tied in with other city cleanup projects like KEEP & NICE (Brekke created these programs when she was city attorney). Not only could the city take over Project TRIM and take care of the trees they own in the Boulevard they could tie it in with the elimination of Ash trees in the boulevard.

I think the Parks and Rec and the Forestry divisions of Sioux Falls should come up with a 5 year plan to not only eliminate these trees before they are attacked by the bore, but also trim the other trees in the boulevard. It will be costly up front, but once the city goes through a second 5 year cycle it will get less expensive.

Taxpayers of Sioux Falls need to STOP subsidizing special interests at 100%

As if we didn’t do enough monument building in the past 8 years, here we go down that rabbit hole again;

If the Sioux Falls Canaries get a new home anytime soon, it should go downtown.

That’s one of the takeaways from a report that’s been shared with the Sioux Falls City Council that resulted from an intensive study of city-owned entertainment and convention facilities that took place last fall.

Here we go again. A consultant that taxpayers paid for are telling us what the administration wants us to hear. Think Midco Aquatic Facility. When is the city instead going to ask for public input on these matters instead of an expensive consultant?

Sioux Falls Stadium is 55 years old and hasn’t had any major upgrades in nearly two decades. The report says annual attendance averages there have declined steadily since 2013, which could be a result of the game experience that an outdated facility provides patrons.

A new stadium and a more active location could bring those attendance numbers back up, according to the report.

Maybe numbers are down because people don’t care? Why not ask the public? With all the different entertainment options these days in Sioux Falls, maybe people just are not as interested in baseball as much?

If I was the city council, I would explore some options. 1) Tear down the stadium for more parking at the Denty. 2) Refurbish the stadium, but make the baseball franchise pony up at least 50% or more. 3) Don’t build a new stadium downtown if we decide to tear it down. Have Canaries use Harmadon Park, or fold.

Some mention it would make a good place for concerts downtown. Hey McFly, we are building the Levitt Pavilion for $5 million for outdoor concerts downtown already.

Enough already with special interest monument building that none of us benefit from except having another bond to pay off. Besides the skatepark proposal which organizers have promised to kick in $500K privately, we really just need to take a deep breath and take a break for awhile.

I really think the next council and mayor need to use 2018 as a year to review finances. They also need to do forensic audits of all the departments budgets and enterprise funds. They also need to look at deregulation and LOWERING fees and taxes.

This Spend, Spend, Spend mentality is going to eventually break us.

A (Partial Training) Safety report about Falls Park released

What’s the point of giving us something that isn’t even complete? Seriously?!

It’s like the siding report and settlement all over again.

On top of that, it wasn’t even a real audit. That took place in 2013.

Well at least one city employee apologized for his lie . . . uh . . . I mean error;

In an email from Emergency Manager Regan Smith late Wednesday, he said he errored in calling the 2016 review an audit when addressing the media on March 19.

“I inadvertently called it an audit and did not clarify that the SDPAA findings were relayed orally to the city team in 2016,” Smith said. “But I felt it was important to make myself available regarding safety measures taken at our city’s namesake and that no additional recommendations were made in 2016 beyond those implemented in 2013.”

If you can’t trust the Risk Manager, who can you trust?