UPDATE: Greg Jamison, the voice of reason?

According to the city council informational meeting and city councilor Bob Litz and task force member, the task force is going to start meeting again. The Gargoyle Leader did a fairly good story about the meeting, but I encourage everyone to listen. I was surprised by Greg Jamison’s 180 on the issue, and it seems maybe some councilors are starting to come around, finally.

Councilor Greg Jamison encouraged the task force to retool and keep fighting.

“We’ve got way too much momentum moving on this project to let it fail and just let it die out,” he said.

Actually, if you listen to what Greggo says from the beginning is what is surprising. He pretty much tells the task force that let’s find another way to fund this and get it done. I agree. We shouldn’t throw 2 years of meetings and hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees in the toilet because De Knudson and King Dave didn’t get their way.

There is going to have to be philanthropic funding, but the city would “have to have our house in order,” Councilor Bob Litz said.

I disagree partially with Bob on this. I have often said that the funding source should be secured with voters first then a plan is laid out. When you are out looking for a new car what do you think about first? How are you going to pay for it and what is your budget, why should the city do things differently then people do personally? Get a tenant, get a public funding source and get a private funding source, then start talking about the fun stuff. I have a friend who has lived in Lincoln, NE as long as I have lived in Sioux Falls, and he said they are going through the same process now, and it is just as messy.

And of course, an informational meeting couldn’t be complete without the babblings of Quen Be De Knudson;

Knudson said that statements that other options weren’t looked at is “really hogwash.”

“That’s rather insulting for those people who have spent two years of their time only going to meetings, after meetings, after meetings on an events center,” she said.

Well, De, start washing the hogs. According to Cheryl Rath, “very little time” was spent on exploring other funding options. And unlike yourself, De, Cheryl attending almost every single meeting and took extensive notes. Did you do that De? You are not fooling anyone, this was the funding source that was pursued because some people in SF leadership want that 3rd penny, not just for the EC but for future projects. You know damn well there is other ways to pay for this facility, but they don’t include getting a PERMANENT 3rd penny. Rounds said it himself, the 3rd penny would never go away once the EC is built, the city will just find other things to spend it on.

On an unrelated note, I was approached by someone I know last night that asked if I would sign Bill Peterson’s petition for mayor. I said NO. But not because it was Bill Peterson. I will sign any candidate’s petition if that candidate asks me to sign it. It seems a lot of mayoral candidates and council candidates are having other people do their dirty work for them. Which I find odd on many levels. Asking someone to sign your petition is not any different then campaigning. It gives you the opportunity to sell yourself to a petition signer. Candidates who don’t ‘Have the time’ to talk to the public with something as simple as asking them to sign a petition, obviously don’t have the time for citizens if they take that office. Mayoral candidates are required to have 200 valid signatures and district candidates are required to have 50 signatures. I know for a fact that Staggers and Stehly both turned in their petitions this week already (they have until the end of the month) and most of those signatures they got themselves. In fact Theresa told me she got 280 herself but is wanting to get at least 500 by the end of the month. Dedication and hardwork is what I want in a candidate not someone who is afraid to get their hands dirty talking to the lowly voters.

I heard yesterday that the Events Center task force is meeting again. Stormland TV News is going to do a story about it tonight. I guess they are worried that Pat Costello might not get elected mayor (well, he is not, but I do give him 4th place). Let me put it to you simply; nobody gives a f’ck about a new events center. People want to drive on roads without dodging potholes, they want a job that pays a fair wage and they want to be happy, that’s it. I see the Gargoyle Leader printed a correction today in their dead tree version, 70% are against bonding a new Events Center. In other words, if you want it, pool your money and build it yourself because taxpayers are sick of paying for this shit.

I have often used the analogy, if something is needed, it will pay for itself. If an Events Center or even a indoor pool is needed, it will pay for itself. How do private entertainment facilities and private fitness centers with pools make it in Sioux Falls? Why is it that when the city builds one of these facilities it loses money hand over fist?

I can’t wait until April 13th.

25 Thoughts on “The Events Center Task Force; Like a Dog chasing their tail

  1. Costner on February 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm said:

    I realize Argus polls are totally unscientific, but based upon what I’ve read and heard… it seems clear you are right – the public just doesn’t care nearly as much about an Events Center as do those on the city council.

    I do not however agree that a facility of that size could ever be self-sustaining, and therefore will never be funded by private funds. I don’t think even something much smaller like the Washington Pavilion could operate in the black if it was privately owned – so an Events Center wouldn’t have a chance.

    Either way it doesn’t really matter – I firmly believe if they put the EC to a public vote it will go down in flames, and if they try to shove it down our throats without a public vote, you can bet someone will step up to the plate and ensure it gets put to a public vote just like TS did with the indoor pool.

    I could be wrong – stranger things have happened.

  2. Warren Phear on February 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm said:

    Let me put it to you simply; nobody gives a f’ck about a new events center. People want to drive on roads without dodging potholes, they want a job that pays a fair wage and they want to be happy, that’s it. I see the Gargoyle Leader printed a correction today in their dead tree version, 70% are against bonding a new Events Center. In other words, if you want it, pool your money and build it yourself because taxpayers are sick of paying for this shit.

    But…but…l3wis, we’re happy as pigs in shit with our $11.00 an hour jobs. Stop stirring the pot troublemaker.

  3. Really? You’re back to this mindset:

    “I have often used the analogy, if something is needed, it will pay for itself. If an Events Center or even a indoor pool is needed, it will pay for itself.’

    Don’t you have a thread a couple below this one where you say we’d only get $2 million a year of economic benefit from an EC? Isn’t that paying for itself one way or the other?

    The truth is these things do pay for themselves and then some. Look at our two closest and best examples: Fargodome & Tyson. Both were paid off early, Fargo is even adding a basketball/hockey arena on to theirs, so they obviously are enjoying the benefits.

    What truly sucks is the reason both places were so successful is because Sioux Falls has had its head up its ass on this issue for nearly 15 years. We should’ve bitten the bullet back whe we pitched the Convention Center in 1997, but of course we had a whole bunch of whiners come out of the woodwork and that plan got scaled back to being too small the day it opened.

    We are currently losing what? 30% of our airport revenues as people drive to Omaha, I’d bet we are losing that same percentage of our Event business year in and year out. You want the City to entice decent jobs here, knowing our limitations (both geographic & psychological) how do you propose they do that? We aren’t going to be able to build big casino, that ship has sailed.

  4. I like that analogy.

  5. Scott:

    “Sigh” Yes? Can I help you?

    Two critical events have occurred this last week on this isssue. Both of which are actually quite positive.

    A. The Leg. made the right call, albeit for the wrong reasons. They will want the option to raise sales taxes next year if we are still in a deficit situation and can’t come up with the appropriate cuts to get to balance. Remember all these “wrong time to raise taxes” soundbytes next year when they run out of ideas.

    B. The School Board is ready to say “phuc it” and move ahead with their updates to Howard Wood. This will effectively doom the silly, uneeded and wildly unpopular idea of tearing it down to build the big concrete box in it’s place.

    You’ve heard the TF say “no way” when it comes to funding their plan any other way, well they have also said “no way” when talking about building their EC as designed if HWF stays.

    L3wis is correct, Jamison is taking the right approach. Take what we can from the TF plan (seating capacity, projections, market analysis & conditions, consultant recommedations) and change the funding and location to the next best options.

    BTW…speaking of Lincoln, they are talking $360 million for their new Arena to replace Devaney. Again, their population and economic growth rates trail ours. Overall tax rate is higher as well. Here’s how you pitch an Events Center:


  6. Angry Guy on February 17, 2010 at 10:42 am said:

    Go Big Red!

  7. Costner on February 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm said:

    Can we really make a fair comparison between an Events Center being built to support the University of Nebraska against the proposal for Sioux Falls?

    Seems clear that Lincoln would need a lot more seats and would generate a lot more revenue based upon the University alone. Anything else for them is just gravy.

  8. There has been a groundswell to get an indoor pool built. Stehly got a call about it. I think they may be gearing up to put it on the ballot in November (just a guess) Which I am fine with. But I hope they do it in partnership with the School District. Stehly actually agrees with me on that and told the person on the phone the idea. I think it would be funny if my idea got support.

  9. Costner on February 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm said:

    People have argued for a connection to the schools for years. That way the pools get used year round and even during the weekdays when they normally would sit idle. The cost to maintain them could also be split between the city and the schools just like they do with some of the city parks that are adjacent to schools.

    The three high schools also have an ideal distribution across town, so if you put one at Lincoln and it is a success, you can put one at Roosevelt and another at Washington and now you have a public indoor pool within a couple of miles of most of the city.

    Frankly if we must have an indoor pool, attaching them to the High Schools is a no brainer. The only issue might be that Lincoln is somewhat land locked… not sure they have the space to build a pool unless they start buying up surrounding land via eminent domain. They already have parking troubles, so I don’t know what they could really do.

    If they propose an indoor pool that is standalone anywhere else in the city, I won’t support it. Period.

  10. One thing to consider Coster, is that UNL is going to lease the place from the City of Lincoln for $750K a year for the next 30 years. They are talking about men’s bball, but volleyball, wrestling etc. will stay at Devaney. Beyond that, they are building it to compete with Qwest for concerts, and they are talking about finding a suitable use for Pershing.

    So, when you look at the whole project in perspective, what you don’t see is a bunch of people in leadership positions coming up with mythical reasons why it can’t be done, where it should be located (no Interstate near there), wishing for the State or Warren Buffet to come in and pay for it or why it won’t get used because there’s a competing facility 45 miles away.

  11. Also, look at the difference in how major questions about the facility are dealt with:


    “And where will the money come from?

    Most of it — $194 million over 30 years — would come from increased taxes on hotel rooms, bar and restaurant tabs and car rentals.

    Another $95 million is projected in arena revenue — ranging from naming rights to premium seating.

    The rest of the money to pay off bonds over 30 years would come from:

    •$33 million in private donations, including $20 million from 2015 Vision — a group of business leaders — and $13 million in mostly private money for the Breslow Ice Center.
    •$24 million in state turnback taxes (70 percent of the sales tax revenue collected from the arena and nearby hotels is “turned back” to the city).
    •$19 million in revenue from two new parking garages and surface parking.
    •$17 million from the sale of land to developers for offices, shops and stores and tax increment financing.
    •$16.4 million in interest income from the bond proceeds.
    •Federal funds to assist with environmental remediation, $800,000.
    The revenue sources total $398 million to account for a reserve the city must have for the debt.”


    “The city’s figures didn’t include financial help from International Stadia Group, a subsidiary of the London-based marketing giant IMG College.

    In November, the city’s arena coordinator, Dan Marvin, said ISG had verbally committed to financing $75 million of arena debt for the right to manage the sales and marketing of arena seating, advertising and naming rights.

    But because others have expressed interest in taking on that role, the city will request proposals from all interested companies.

    The city is still in talks with ISG – which is “very interested in doing business with Lincoln,” Marvin said.



    “West Haymarket was selected because it integrates the arena into a wide range of existing and proposed complementary activities in the area, such as recreation, entertainment, retail, lodging, and restaurants. The location takes advantage of shared resources like parking, roads, and utility infrastructure. Furthermore, the West Haymarket location generates the greatest economic impact with the lowest expenditure of public money. It will transform what is currently underutilized land into an expanded Downtown core, enhancing the long-term viability of Lincoln’s unique historic district and expanding Lincoln’s job base.”


    “Pershing Center is an outdated facility from the 1950’s and has a limited capacity of 4200 to 6200 seats. The new arena is 16,000 seats and puts Lincoln in a completely different league in terms of the ability to attract A-list talent and entertainment options. Based on a May 2009 economic analysis, the Haymarket Arena can conservatively expect to host 130 events per year with an average annual attendance of 850,000 patrons. Those events run the gamut and include conventions, family events and rock concerts.”


  12. Costner,

    One last point, Lincoln is about twice the size of SF, but other than UNL & the Capital they are very similar in many ways.

    Sure, they are talking numbers that are out of our league, but take what they are doing and slice it in half and it’s right about where we are, or at least where we should be looking to be.

    Their B&B & Entertainment taxes are already higher than ours and they see no problem in raising them higher to do this deal: $194 million over the bond term or nearly $6.5 million a year more than they levy today.

    Last year, SF pulled $5.2 million total in Ent. taxes and all of $500 thousand in Lodging taxes. We’ve got room to take both up to pay for the place, as long as the Hotel lobby doesn’t kneecap every Pol from here to Igloo.

  13. Besides the additional population of the student body, Lincoln is also pretty much a suburb of Omaha. Yes, that’s a slight exaggeration, but Omaha is close enough that you really can’t compare Sioux Falls to Lincoln.

  14. My friend told me that the population was 250,000 and they don’t count the 35,000 student body. I’m too lazy to look up the actual numbers.

  15. Your friend is right per the last Census. I think the new one will show Lincoln’s MSA at about 285K and SF’s right about at 200K. And I’ll also stick with our numbers on growth & economic stats as being slightly better.

    The point is, look at what they are doing and more importantly how they are getting it done. They’ve found partners, shown vision and they’ve been transparent. They have a plan that excites them and they aren’t afraid of taking it to the polls. They aren’t afraid of big, bad Omaha nor do they care if Vern from Rulo can make it up an escalator or find his way downtown.

    The next Admin. and CC should take some notes.

  16. I believe it’s time I start buying online so I don’t end up funding a sinkhole that will never bring the promised “superstars” that are apparently playing in Sioux City and Fargo.

  17. Omaha is close enough that you really can’t compare Sioux Falls to Lincoln.

    You could make this comparison IF Brookings had the same MSA as Omaha.

    I believe it’s time I start buying online so I don’t end up funding a sinkhole that will never bring the promised “superstars” that are apparently playing in Sioux City and Fargo.

    I think the people of Sioux Falls would learn a lot about Event Centers if Sy and Scott were on the next “force”. Sy, you have some good, if not great points and your vigilance is well recognized, but Scotts points, at least in my opinion make more sense. That is why I have this thread below locked in forever as a place to go when this topic rewinds itself every three days.


  18. Scott:

    “I believe it’s time I start buying online so I don’t end up funding a sinkhole that will never bring the promised “superstars” that are apparently playing in Sioux City and Fargo”

    Feel free to join PG and wage your own jihad against the tax man. That’s fine if you don’t buy the comparison, as that’s a freebee. Lincoln is plowing ahead with their plan and their main tenant ($750K a year)is a UNL basketball team with all of 16 home games a year. Plus, unlike the football or volleyball program, the men’s Bball program really sucks. Doubt they’ll even make the NIT.

    They found some experts who’ve said they can conservatively expect 130 events there a year. Lincoln is also like SF in that the agrarian, western half of the State goes there to shop and play moreso than Omaha. UNL bball will do about as much for this place than the Stampede and Skyforce would do for our EC. And like us, Lincoln has two new facilites (Qwest & Mid-America) in their backyard they feel they can peel some business away from.

    Amazing what some vision and confidence can do for a City.

  19. Thanks poly,

    Although I’m a little confused that real world comparisions and the most recent data on them are trumped by the “no way, now how” mindset that seems to bubble up.

    Sioux Falls is a unique City with way more going for it than against. Again, any mid sized or major metro would kill to have our stats. I think we’ve gotten here by a slow, but calculated series of baby steps and we have natural tendancy to attack the idea of making a jump. This phenomenom has paralyzed what would be otherwise effective & intelligent community leaders.

    Sure we aren’t Lincoln, but we also aren’t Brookings. What’s truly asinine is that we had a 5-10 year head start and both of those places will have their Events Centers proposed, designed, financed, voted on, built and open for business and we will still be right here with our heads up our asses hoping for TD Sanford to step in and save the day.

  20. When I talk about Fargo and Lincoln being college towns, I’m obviously not just talking about the events those schools have in the facility. The University of Nebraska has almost 48,000 students; NDSU has almost 15,000. You can talk all you want about how our city’s population is approximately the same as both of those cities, but that’s a prime concert-going demographic that makes those markets (and Omaha) attractive to concert promoters.

    I won’t bore you again with the undeniable fact that the music industry is also falling apart. The best thing this city could do is finally begin to cultivate a music scene. They do everything they can to stop live music clubs, and the Pavilion/Orpheum seems to have little interest in anything that’s not sleepy Air Supply-ish dreck. The future of live music is not arena acts; it’s demographic-specific, intimate 1,000 seat performances.

  21. When I say “cultivate a music scene”, I obviously mean a grass roots effort starting at the bottom with local bands playing live music clubs and all-ages venues.

  22. anominous on February 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm said:

    It’s like building this thing is some rite from a cargo cult trying to convince Garth Brooks to come back, 7 more times.

  23. “The future of live music is not arena acts; it’s demographic-specific, intimate 1,000 seat performances.”

    Scott is right. I have told Kermit that when I make trips to Omaha and MPLS I go for those smaller intimate shows, not for large ones. I don’t think the Orpheum and Pavilion are being used for these kind of shows. For god’s sake, even if we take the metro area, there is only about 250,000 people that live in that area. We need to foster more intimate shows in SF.

Post Navigation