I have to help pay for an Event Center now to? Next you’ll wanna take my guns.

On Inside KELOLAND yesterday they discussed the success of the Summit League tournament. They tried to use the show’s discussion to push the Event Center, again. During the segment they talked about all the economic benefits of the tournament. As I mentioned before, Sioux Falls IS a great town to visit. The Arena pulled off the entire tournament with only one major change; upgrading the locker rooms. So would a bigger facility make this event better? Maybe so, but is it worth building a larger facility that will only be filled to capacity a couple times a year? Maybe, if we approach the funding and subsidies carefully and mindful of the citizens. Ironically no representative of the citizens was invited to be on the show, for or against the EC.

When the Event Center discussion started a few years back (mostly pushed by sports nuts and the same crew that thought the Vikes training camp was coming to town) I opposed it. I didn’t care how it was being paid for. I recently climbed aboard and kind of support it and think that breaking ground in 3-5 years would be doable. But I only supported it because the task force basically said they would pay for the building of the facility through corporate sponsorships and a bed and booze tax. I also supported it because the facility has been scaled back to 10-12,000 seats. Well guess what? Those funding ideas have been thrown out with the bath water.

Jim Woster, an EC task force member said on yesterday’s show that they will be encouraging the legislature in 2010 to pass legislation that will allow municipalities in South Dakota to increase their retail taxes so other cities besides Sioux Falls could build similar facilities. What a gigantic can of worms. If the legislature approves the increase (which I don’t think they will) citizens would have the opportunity to vote on the tax increase. So now it seems they want to tax every purchase you make to pay for the EC. So people who won’t even be using it, or benefitting financially from it, still have to pay for it? Bologna! Woster says if this happens in Pierre they will be “Educating the community” on the benefits of the EC and the tax increase to pay for it.

I’m still trying to figure out what happened with the bed and booze tax or the corporate sponsorships? I have also suggested a corporate entertainment tax. This makes the most sense since the corporations are constantly begging for a new EC so they can “attract” workers to the city. We have this mentality though in South Dakota that corporations and businesses should not be taxed because it will ‘kill jobs’. How long or we going to drink this hogwash? Politicians reason that if we don’t tax corporations their profits will trickle down in higher wages and good jobs. Yet South Dakota still rates almost dead last in wages. In other words the tax break hasn’t produced results just more money for the already rich execs. I can hear the argument already ‘We can’t expect small businesses to pay these taxes’ and most likely they wouldn’t if it was structured correctly. The tax would be based on profit margins. The bigger profit margin the more you pay. I think the corporate entertainment tax is a great idea and it would pass the ballot in flying colors.  

Remember. Sioux Falls has a horrible track record when it comes to building entertainment facilities. Over the past ten years it is estimated that the CIP budget has dumped an additional $20 million into the Pavilion and counting costing taxpayer’s almost $40 million to date. This money comes from the general fund, not the entertainment tax that was setup for operating and subsidizing the Pavilion.

What am I saying? I support building a new Event Center, but we need to pay for it differently, not by taxing food more. I also think we should take our time in planning it so we don’t end up like the Pavilion.

If they think they can pay for this through a retail tax increase, it will never get built because the public will reject that funding option. Why do I think no one on the task force sees that? Because there really isn’t any working class people on the task force, just the same old elitists that sit on every board that are completely out of touch with the community, like half of our city council. Unless we start including some regular Joes on these committees the event center will never happen.

24 Thoughts on “The Event Center task force risks burying the project with their horrible funding proposal

  1. Ghost of Dude on March 16, 2009 at 11:22 am said:

    The pavillion is a great facility, just poorly run and promoted – almost like they wanted it to look like a boondoggle.

  2. It outta be for $40 million and counting, since the orginal pricetag was $21 million.

  3. I still am just dumbfounded that the task force thinks they can raise retail taxes to build this. They sure have short memories. Remember the REC center and the Indoor Pool? It’s almost like they completely ignore stuff in the past.

  4. Ghost of Dude on March 16, 2009 at 11:42 am said:

    They do, because they probably weren’t involved in that mess.
    I agree that unless they can find a way around a general retail sales tax increase, it ain’t gonna happen.
    Advertising and B&B taxes come to mind.

  5. Costner on March 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm said:

    I won’t support an Events Center until they get it out of their heads to put it downtown or where Howard Wood field sits.

    Build it along I-29 between the Madison and Bahnson exits (or another equally reasonable location) and promise to wait three years and then I might just get behind it. Now is not the time (economically speaking) to be speaking of a project which is going to cost tens of millions of dollars, and no matter what the DTSF cheerleaders might say, a downtown location would be a nighmare for parking and traffic.

  6. Like I have said from the beginning, I don’t care 2 shits about the location. You can get anywhere in this city in 12 minutes. I think they need to nail the funding source down first before they start talking about that crap and it should be something unconventional and reliable like an advertising or corporate tax. Just look at what the economy has done to the retail tax revenue the city is bringing in. Nobody is buying right now. On top of that, it really irks me when they actually think it is fair to tax (grocery) food to build an entertainment facility, because, like, they have sooooooooooooo much to do with each other. Taxes are for infrastructure and essential services, not playgrounds for pro-am teams.

  7. Ghost of Dude on March 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm said:


    The downtown area was recommended by the people who studied the city for a good location. They concluded that the multiple entrances/exits would allow for better traffic flow and a more staggered arrival and departure of attendees. The Cherapa site is less than three miles from I29 and just over a mile from I229. Pretty much straight shots both ways with plenty of alternative routes. Building by I29 gives one main route to the EC and back, which will make rush-hour DT look like a quiet suburban avenue.
    In addition, the infrastructure for collateral development is already there. Smaller clubs, bars, restaurants, and stores would utilize existing structures.
    Building on the edge of town or at the HWF site would end up as strip mall hell with a square mile of paved cornfields in the middle for a parking lot. Just more unsustainable urban sprawl.

  8. Costner on March 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm said:

    And of course the “people who studied the city for a good location” wouldn’t be biased or have links to DTSF at all….no of course not.

    The comment about better traffic flow is just downright comical – anyone who has ever been downtown for Hot Harley Nights can attest to that. I’ve been to events downtown that took 20 minutes to get out of and that wasn’t even an event where everyone left at the same time. I can’t imagine 10,000 people trying to all get home after a concert.

    The more staggered arrival and departure bs is due to the study that estimated people would need to park up to a 12 block radius of the events center. 12 frigging blocks? Yea I want to park by the Cathedral so I can enjoy a concert….thanks but no thanks.

    To make matters worse, I recall that study suggesting there should be something like 3 people per car, and at the time people said it was unrealistic since the average is closer to two.

    I’m not suggesting the location I mention is perfect, but there are vast superior locations to downtown and if they decide to built it there I’ll never support it. Access to and from the existing Arena works pretty well, but we’re talking twice as many people with fewer paths to get home – and they want to use even more of our tax dollars to move railroad tracks to make it possible.

    No way.

  9. l3wis on March 17, 2009 at 5:10 am said:

    GoD, check your Gmail account for a special message.

  10. Warren Phear on March 17, 2009 at 5:32 am said:

    The city would like us to believe existing parking downtown is as good as the parking at our current Arena. Not so. Not even close. If this “event” center does get shoveled down our throats DT, parking will become a concern, and that concern translates to between $12,000 and $16,000 dollars per parking spot, and those prices were from two years ago. Concrete prices are considerably higher now. Consider a 692 vehicle public ramp x’s those dollars and we’re talking serious money. Money the city CLAIMS will be covered by a parking fund. That’s a joke. The city is already cutting back on needed maintenance work on existing public parking because the parking fund has no money.

    One other thing. The 10,000 seat Sioux City “Events” center has been open for business for nearly six years now. How many “events” have they staged that our own 7000 seat Arena could not have handled?

  11. l3wis on March 17, 2009 at 6:32 am said:

    The street construction DT for the next 3 months will show us just how much parking ramps are utilized by people. I betcha DT businesses will see a significant drop in business because people can’t park right in front of the business. People are sheep and hard to train into new ways. I always park in the ramp. It doesn’t hurt me to walk an extra block to get somewhere and in the winter if it is snowing you don’t have to brush snow off your car.

  12. Ghost of Dude on March 17, 2009 at 6:48 am said:

    If they try and build it anywhere but downtown, they will not have my support.

  13. l3wis on March 17, 2009 at 6:54 am said:

    I guess you are out then, I think they have already decided Howard Wood is the place, that’s the rumor I hear.

  14. Warren Phear on March 17, 2009 at 7:14 am said:

    l3wis, you said:

    “Jim Woster, an EC task force member said on yesterday’s show that they will be encouraging the legislature in 2010 to pass legislation that will allow municipalities in South Dakota to increase their retail taxes so other cities besides Sioux Falls could build similar facilities.”

    What show?

  15. l3wis on March 17, 2009 at 7:22 am said:

    Inside Keloland. I don’t think it is up on there website yet.

    It plays every Sunday at 10:30 AM & PM

  16. Warren Phear on March 17, 2009 at 7:49 am said:

    Thanks l3wis, I’ll be keeping an eye open for it.

  17. Ghost of Dude on March 17, 2009 at 8:09 am said:

    Without the EC downtown, I’d like to see an arts district – not the kitchy paintings of barns and wildlife, but actual music, theatre, and art – along with the interesting shops and bars that go with it.
    Anything to keep this town from becoming a total suburban hellhole.

  18. l3wis on March 17, 2009 at 8:23 am said:

    I’ve suggested that they need to build a nice amphitheatre on phillips to the falls that seats at least 500 people for plays and concerts.

  19. Ghost of Dude on March 17, 2009 at 9:50 am said:

    That would be a good start. If the river was wider, we could do something similar to Tulsa and have a floating stage that could be towed to one of the parks by the river.

  20. Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! That sounds pretty progressive to me, we don’t allow for progressive ideas in SF.

  21. Ghost of Dude on March 17, 2009 at 11:38 am said:

    I know. If we had half the local Jazz scene Tulsa has, we’d have a lot more cool hangouts DT, and a vibrant art scene.
    Having their population and oil money wouldn’t hurt either…

  22. Hey, Hey, Hey! What about all that Packing Plant, hospital and CC money we have?!

  23. Ghost of Dude on March 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm said:

    You’ve never lived around an oil company’s corporate HQ, have you.
    My single friends working for them in Tulsa drive BMWs an have bought homes. The companies also sponsor concerts and outdoor music festivals.
    Their jazz scene goes back to the 20s too.

  24. l3wis on March 17, 2009 at 1:32 pm said:

    Yeah, getting corporations in this town to pony up is like pulling teeth. Just look how much Jazzfest had to cut back. It still burns me that the city of SF buys the SculptureWalk winners every year. I can understand covering the insurance, but that is the only thing we should be paying for besides providing the space. I think a corporation or individual should buy and donate the winning sculptures every year and donate them to the city, they can even put there name on them. I have noticed that some people have done that in the past with non-winning ones, but I think it should be done with the winners to.

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