Mayor TenHaken brags about giving taxpayer money away to private non-profit

As I said last week, I had no doubt this would pass, but I am baffled that a public official would brag about spending our taxdollars this way, especially after the county and school district just had opt-outs and we have a 38% reserve in the city, and we are planning to bond $30 million for a fire/police training center (that we selfishly won’t allow other communities and law enforcement entities help us with because we want ‘control’). Something is out of whack folks.

Lalley Podcast; Ep 3

Janet Brekke and I are the featured guests!

Was the Arc of Dreams misplaced?

I will admit, I have looked at the Arc of Dreams several times at different angles from far away and up close. Depending on how you look at it you find something unique each time. It is quite the structure and engineering feat. But one of the things you will notice is that the only place you can really get a good view of the entire structure is from the North standing on the 6th street bridge or river greenway. You would also miss it if driving in a car over the bridge unless you happen to look over at it.

Some have questioned it’s location. First off, since it was privately funded they had to situate it on private property yet putting it in a public space. While the structure is mounted on private property, it crosses a public waterway.

As you can see below, most large sculptures, like the FLAMINGO in Chicago is placed in a large courtyard area so it can be viewed from 4 directions. I actually think a great place for the Arc would have been on North Minnesota Avenue coming into town from the airport, or others have suggested over the Levitt yard. Obviously the limitation was placing this on private property, but I think an easement could have been figured out.

It will be interesting to read reviews of it’s placement over the next couple of years.

City of Sioux Falls to present their pilot idea for on-demand transit on Tuesday

You will see how the city plans to implement a pilot program for on-demand transit. As I have posted about recently, while the people using the on-demand service love it, it really isn’t equitable and doesn’t help more people. A total overhaul of Paratransit and regular bus routes would be where I would start instead of on-demand.

The presentation compares it to On-Demand movies and is you look at their scenarios you will see the cost goes up (at least that is how interpret it). I guess I will wait to see the presentation to fill in the blanks.

Redevelopment of the Core should have started a decade ago

I have been a follower of Strongtowns for almost 10 years now, and tried to bring Chuck into speak about 7 years ago but couldn’t scrounge up a sponsorship. I’m happy to see people trying to embrace their thinking, but I think we need to play some serious catchup.

Jodi makes a good point in her Sunday column today;

But I think a renewed focus on improving existing housing stock, redeveloping core neighborhoods and investing in infrastructure and amenities that draw people to those neighborhoods could help.

Help?! I have been pleading with city councilors for over a decade to implement a core neighborhood revitalization program through re-allocating TIF rebates to individual homeowners and small apartment owners in our core neighborhoods. It could be a multi-tier program that gives property tax rebates for certain kinds of upgrades as well as using federal grants and community development loans. While we are in the middle of a crisis right now in SF when it comes to affordable housing because we have allowed realtors and developers artificially inflate the market. We can’t cry over what we should have done, we need to implement these programs ASAP to save our core neighborhoods while creating abundant affordable housing.

Minnehaha County introduces new show?

I guess I have never seen this show before, so it must be something new.

Here is Inside Town Hall with 4 city councilors. When they talked about the Levitt I wanted to clap when the host, Madeline Shields said that there is ‘plenty of parking’ for the Levitt. Amen!

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • July 16, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM

Update on Fire training center and the transit core team.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts. The EC is only a few years old and they are already planning a HVAC upgrade. This was one of my contentions when we were building the facility, if you go on the cheap on the front end, it will cost you millions in maintenance later. I believe the Pavilion was supposed to cost us around $19 million. With maintenance and upgrades over the past 20 years it has far exceeded $50 million. This is why we had to keep the entertainment tax.

Item #28, 2nd Reading, State Theatre funding (this is tied in with Item #35, resolution to authorize the contract. Basically the council approves the supplement in ordinance then they later approve the contract in resolution (I know, confusing) I have attached the contract. While the document is 110 pages long, the contract itself is about 11 pages. This will most likely pass 6-0 (Stehly and Soehl are expected to be absent). While I can see the payoff in tax revenue (eventually) I still take issue with where we are taking the money from and by the whims and demands of one man. It’s a piss poor way to govern a city, whether it is a $20 gift or $1.5 million dollar gift, the well to do of our town shouldn’t be able to put demands on citizens to gift money.

As you can see in the chart below, we will be paying for ‘specific’ things, and if I understand the contract correctly, we will be paying the contractor who does the work as it is completed. In other words, we are not handing the State Theatre Company directly. It is very similar to the Facade easement program (something PTH has eliminated).

Charter Revision Commission • 4 PM (Thur, July 18)

They will discuss council pay.

Events Center Campus Study Group, Public Input;

Wednesday, July 17th – 7am Upstairs Club Room, HyVee on Minnesota and 38th

Wednesday, July 17th – 6pm Falls West Room, Holiday Inn Sioux Falls-City Centre

Thursday, July 18th – 11:30am The Center for Active Generations

Thursday, July 18th – 6pm Rooms 8, 9 and 10, Sioux Falls Convention Center

Levitt releases attendance numbers

They are saying about 22,000 people have attended the 15 concerts so far (about 1,466 per show). They have been using clickers to count, and I would guess the numbers are pretty accurate. The more popular shows draw well over 3,000.

People are still bringing their dogs. Levitt cannot really control this since it is the jurisdiction of Parks Department and the city council would probably have to pass an ordinance banning pets at concerts (you know, like how they have banned people bringing their own alcohol – yet sell it there, that one still baffles me).

I was also a little annoyed last night when a volunteer said I couldn’t stand on the sidewalk because it was for people walking. I am well aware what a sidewalk is for and if someone comes along, I ‘can’ move. Besides, it’s a public park and public sidewalk. Next time worry about the dogs overheating in the sun.

SDPTV was filming the concert last night, so they put it up on the big screen which was kind of cool.

City of Sioux Falls should be able to force Eastern-Ellis RR to cleanup tracks

For several years the Pettigrew Heights and All Saints Neighborhoods have been volunteering their time to clean up the tracks owned by Eastern-Ellis RR that run directly through their neighborhoods. While the RR does provide a dump car and some employees, volunteers do most of the work. They walk through very tall grass that they won’t mow to pick up all kinds of junk including hazardous materials and needles.

This is something neighborhood associations should NOT have to be responsible for. Having BBQs, community gardens, neighborhood watch meetings, tree planting events, etc. are great examples of the associations getting together to better their neighborhoods. Cleaning up hazardous waste for an inept RR company SHOULD NOT be their job.

I have heard for several years that the city has been unsuccessful in getting them to clean up their property.

They claim it is a Federal issue because the RR’s are regulated by the Feds and are on Federal easement land. I have often felt this was a line of bull and a city should have local control over code enforcement issues, especially when it comes to cleaning up property and mowing.

I checked with Dusty Johnson to see ‘who’ is responsible for enforcement. His staff quickly researched the issue within a week and had this response;

I had Andrew Rasmussen dig into this a little bit and here’s what he found out:

• In conversations with both the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the SD Department of Transportation (SDDOT), it was made clear the jurisdiction lies with the City of Sioux Falls.

• Both the FRA and SDDOT explained they are unable to enforce a local code or ordinance, particularly when it involves a private company.

In other words, the City’s Code Enforcement office ‘CAN’ enforce that Eastern Ellis cleanup their own mess.

I would like to thank Dusty and his staff for the quick response. 

What’s happening with the apartments by Sunshine GS Downtown?

As you may or may not know, the apartments are being built by Legacy Development, the same business involved with the Parking Ramp Debacle and collapse of Copper Lounge.

I do believe the project also got some Federal tax incentives(?)

Almost every night I ride my bike through DTSF to look at how progress is going on various projects. This week Raven tore down the old building by their parking lot and they have been working on the donor wall at the Arc of Dreams (which is funny because they built a concrete block wall a single block wide, then attached cut quartzite to the concrete block. Why not just use solid quartzite? Weird.

But the one thing I have noticed is the Legacy apartment project has been hardly touched for several weeks. In fact the plywood and studs that are exposed are starting to dis-color with all the rain and heat.

I have a city official looking into the progress and hope to give an update.