Events Center debate – off the rails

I saw this coming a mile away. Don’t ask the public what they think, and this is what you get, people fighting like cats and dogs.

Not sure if you knew it, but the Build it Downtown people have been fighting with the Mayor’s office for awhile (this is obvious). But it did not all come to a head until this week. There has been suspicians the mayor’s office is manipulating the parking numbers downtown.

Then of course come the denials, threats and intimidation. We could spend an entire thread talking about it, but . . .

Doesn’t matter, blah, blah, blah.

The fact remains, until this council and this mayor put it on the ballot and let voters decide if they want it, where, how much and how we will pay for it, all of these cock fights don’t matter.

Everyone needs to chill out, and take a quote from a frequent council addresser, Tim Stenga, “Been talkin’ to a lot of people.”

Me to Tim, and they are all stark raving mad (but in a good way, like myself) and that’s not pop psychology, that’s the facts, jack.


#1 Poly43 on 03.25.11 at 4:37 am

When Smith came ujp with his cooked numbers, he prolly figured what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

If you read the Lincoln Nebraska parking study, you will find out at the peak daytime hours of 10:00 am to noon, they have a 61% occupancy rate for all DT parking. 80% is the optimum. Lincoln has more parking spaces than it needs. The only reason they are spending an additional $35,792,765 is to accomadate an arena with acceptable walking distances. Sioux Falls continues to play the card we have the recommended parking for an “event”. But, we do not. By Walkers own estimates they figure desired parking for an 80% arena occupancy, or 9600 event goers in our case. Walker shows a parking demand ratio of .40 for occupied seat. 40% of 9600 is 3840 AVAILABLE parking spots. Walker also says studies show acceptable walking distances for events is limited to 2000 WALKING feet. Not 2000 as the crow flies feet. Simply stated, we do not meet that criteria, and will need ramps. The $18,000 per space kind of ramp. Lincoln admitted as much. That’s why they are spending an additional $35,792,765 for over 2,000 more spots that they in reality do not need but for one thing, and one thing only. EVENTS.

#2 l3wis on 03.25.11 at 5:41 am

Doesn’t matter. First voters must approve. Secondly, let’s say we build it DT. And the doors open 2014. We will have years (probably a decade) to adjust parking DT. Why? Because the facility won’t sell out for that long. Personally, I am a fan of parking ramps. Because if it is snowing out, you don’t have to scrape your windows, clean off your car, etc. You are very close to your vehicle, etc.

#3 l3wis on 03.25.11 at 6:06 am

BTW, I don’t want this thread to be about parking, etc, let’s talk about the pissing matches. I will have to admit, I feel like Hildy has been the ultimate badass thru-out this ordeal, who won’t put up with bullshit. Agree or disagree, he has been the only one publicly calling out the mayor and administration. Still disappoints me that a waiter/artist saw thru all of Huether’s BS during the campaign, while Hildy and Holsen lapped it up because of their dislike of a true Libertarian like Kermit.

#4 Scott on 03.25.11 at 6:19 am

While true, he’s also one of those that just can’t handle any opinion that differs from his own.

#5 l3wis on 03.25.11 at 6:32 am

That’s why it is so fun to watch Hildy and Holsen take on Huether. They both supported his ass, while the rest of us working stiffs knew he was a robber-baron from the CC industry. And now that he has scorned them, they all of a sudden are crying, “He’s a liar and mean.” He was that from the freaking beginning. Funny how people with support someone when it fits their needs at the time. I try to look at the big picture. I used to say that about Clinton. While he has his many moral faults, I think he always tried to look at society as a whole and weigh his decisions. He was a pretty good president for it. Was he perfect, Hell no.

#6 Costner on 03.25.11 at 7:26 am

Hildy supported him in the campaign because he was paid to do so. Holsen probably supported him because she was still a city employee and didn’t want to rock the boat (that and the fact she was probably in fear of her job or the jobs of her relatives had Staggers actually won).

Makes me wonder if Hildy would be so vocal now if there was no compensation tied to it. So is he really a legitimate pissing match, or one financed by the highest bidder? I realize BID gets all upset when you question their motives and we are just supposed to continue to beleive they are nothing more than a group of “passionate citizens”, but until I hear how much Hildy is bring in for his “passionate” efforts, I’m withholding judgement on whether his outrage is real or manufactured. I can’t call is a grass roots thing when it looks like astroturf.

I do agree with l3wis about the issue being put forth to a vote though. Logically that would seem to be a wise move before we invest many more millions on developing a plan for something the citizens may not even want.

#7 Sy on 03.25.11 at 7:40 am

Once again, it’s the stupid ass mother@$%^&*^$’s!!!! (directed at only those who don’t get that basic point)

The only way this should be brought in front of the voters is when you can look them in the eye and say the following:

“We’ve done our research, we’ve reached out to the best experts, we LET THEM OPERATE WITHOUT INTERFERENCE and we’ve let the chips fall where they may. This plan is the one we feel is the best possible return on our $100 million plus investment” If Sioux Falls is anything like Lincoln or the 95% of the other Cities that have gone through this same excercise, than it will show the best economics is to: Build it Downtown. If it shows otherwise, Build it Downtown will support that conclusion. Why can’t that basic sentiment be reciprocated by the Mayor?

Huether’s already said some will not be happy and some will have to sacrifice. So if the experts say go downtown, than it’s the job of leaders in this community to move the project forward that way and educate voter as to why this is the best course. That’s what we elect leaders to do. We don’t elect them to take the path of least resistance and we don’t do a project like this so somone can pad their friggin’ resume’.

One of the things that amazes me is how willing we seem to be to ignore another basic prinicple of sound municipal fiscal policy: overlapping benefit. We build a lot or ramp downtown, we will see use during the day for businesses and at night for events. We locate at Cherapa, we also move the tracks at the same time, which will improve the traffic flow throughout the City. We widen the streets or improve flow, we get the benefit for both day and night users. We get more people downtown spending money, we get more sales tax revenue without raising the rate. We move the switchyard, we have a chance to open up more industrial space that’s rail served which we are currently ridiculously short on for a City our size (see TJN debate). Someone builds a hotel downtown, they help address the supply problem while also driving more business to more locally owned operations. All of that is applicable downtown, none of it has ever materialzed at the Arena. And no one can articulate what we will do differently this time around, we just get “there will be economic benefit at the Arena too”. Sounds like a rally cry to me. (NOT)

I get that most people are sick of this location debate and sick of me in particular being such a PITA about it. Location will make or break the facility just like any project that needs foot traffic to succeed. We got it right in ’05 and had we acted on that accordingly we’d probably be ahead of Lincoln on getting our tracks out and the doors of the EC would be popping open in the Fall. Politics is the only thing that has prevented that from happening and poltics may be what torpedo’s this plan once again. It took us three votes to do the Arena and many of the Cities I reference have had to go through multiple votes to get their facilities done.

It’s also not about Huether vs. Hildy, those guys were friends back in college and may very well still be when this is all said and done. If you’re hung up on that, ask yourself who’s changed in the relationship and why they did.

It’s really about expediency vs. economics on the largest nut we’ve ever tried to bust. It’s about thinking 30 years or more down the road vs. thinking 4 years down. It’s about taking those 1500 or so jobs that will be created to build the place and keeping them going after it’s done. It’s about not making another 50 year mistake.

#8 Sy on 03.25.11 at 7:58 am


“So is he really a legitimate pissing match, or one financed by the highest bidder?”

Okay, Costner…let’s flush this out once and for all. Like Hildy I’m involved with BID as we all know. I have been paid nothing and conversely I have contributed time, money and effort that would easily be in the 4 figure range. Others have done the same and some have done less, Hildy has done more than me. Especially since he’s a professional who bills hourly, every hour he spends is an hour he isn’t billing someone for. If you really want more specifics than that, we can meet to discuss but I will not go beyond that on a message board. We had a BID member in the paper and on the news this week and she was paid nothing. Conversely, we’ve seen City staff on the clock working against us as opposed to doing City business. The amount of smoke you are trying to raise on BID while gliding by what’s happening at City Hall is really starting to look like you have your own financial intrest in shutting us down. So who’s signing your checks?

#9 Sy on 03.25.11 at 8:08 am

It’s also worth noting that BID was formed as and still is a pro-Events Center goup, and to a larger degree a pro-Sioux Falls group. Whether that changes leading up to election is contingent on the level of trust earned by those moving this project forward. We keep getting told to “trust the process”, which is as nebulous a concept as I’ve ever heard. Sioux Falls needs to trust its leaders or like L3wis said this project will fail no matter where it goes.

#10 Angry Guy on 03.25.11 at 8:51 am

So let’s stop wasting everyone’s money bickering over location or whatever else you are whining about and put the fuckin thing to a vote. How much crow will you people have to eat when it comes to light that you wasted your precious 4 figures on something the majority probably doesn’t want in the first place?

#11 Scott on 03.25.11 at 9:15 am

There’s a two mile difference…and I don’t for a second believe that it will affect the attendance at all for any event. The same 2500 people will go to a Skyforce game by the Falls then they would if it’s where it’s currently located. If the city was considering Denny’s land out by the interstate, then I could understand the controversy.

#12 Sy on 03.25.11 at 9:28 am

We all know the stakes, AG. That’s the point. Whether or not you support the EC you should as a Citizen at least be happy someone is arguing for your best financial interests whether you understand that or not.

The Majority do want an EC if you buy the one and only poll. That number will drop dramactically if the place is shown to be a drag on City finances, conversely if it can be shown to be a revenue generator both directly and indirectly..that support will increase.

#13 Angry Guy on 03.25.11 at 9:44 am

How is blowing a million dollars on studies in my best financial interest, when we don’t even know for certain if the public wants a new events center in the first place?

#14 scott on 03.25.11 at 10:12 am

look at all the articles that the argus is doing on acts playing the orpheum theater in sioux city, not at the pavillion. we can’t even get willie nelson to play the pavillion, he plays the big pole shed up in brookings. what makes anyone think that other than kelby’s basketball tournement, ANYTHING worth building a $100 million arena will be playing here in sioux falls?

#15 Charlie on 03.25.11 at 12:20 pm

If it goes downtown, lets look at leaving the railroad tracks in place and developing a light rail system to ease the parking issue. If you look at a map of SF, the rail lines converge in downtown from practically all directions.

#16 Costner on 03.25.11 at 12:28 pm

Sy: I have been paid nothing and conversely I have contributed time, money and effort that would easily be in the 4 figure range.

I never accused you of being on the take… I understand if anything you are financing BID rather than benefitting from it. I don’t know if you have a vested financial interest in that location and although I don’t beleive you own land there, maybe there is an opportunity at a few large tile contracts if it happens to be build next to Jeff’s facility. You don’t have to disclose of course, but I’m guessing there is more to the story than you just being a passionate citizen.

Sy: Others have done the same and some have done less, Hildy has done more than me. Especially since he’s a professional who bills hourly, every hour he spends is an hour he isn’t billing someone for.

So you are saying Steve isn’t billing anyone for his actions? Is that to say he isn’t being financially compensated in any way and that he is just donating his time? If so – why not be up front and open about it… I think that adds credibility to his message personally.

Sy:If you really want more specifics than that, we can meet to discuss but I will not go beyond that on a message board.

That is sort of the problem, because BID shouldn’t be trying to hide data from the public just as the city shouldn’t be hiding things from the public. Yes I understand you are a private group and are not obligated to do so, but if you are going to pretend you are nothing more than an organized group of passionate citizens with no financial interest influencing your decisions, then why the cloak and dagger routine? I’d like to see a statement on your website that explains your financing and where the money is coming from – and before you make any assumptions I would expect the same from any opposition you might have. I know where the city is getting their money (from you and I as taxpayers) and I know the financial connections of some of our councilmembers (such as Enteman and his property near the Arena). I’m just looking to get all the data out in the open because I think some sunshine on the numbers makes it a lot easier to filter through the bs.

Sy: The amount of smoke you are trying to raise on BID while gliding by what’s happening at City Hall is really starting to look like you have your own financial intrest in shutting us down. So who’s signing your checks?

Well first of all I’m not gliding by what is happening at city hall but when it is tax dollars at work it seems pretty obvious where there money is coming from. Second as mentioned previously I’m aware of some financial connections there and have openly stated anyone with such a connection should remove themselves from any potential vote on the location.

Third, I have already stated numerous times that IF we build a new EC that I support a downtown location instead of the Arena, so suggesting I have an interest the other direction doesn’t hold water. Fourth, I can openly state (even on a lowly message board) that I have zero financial interest in either location. I don’t own property nor do I have financial conenctions in either location, I do not have any friends or relatives who own property or have any financial connections to either location, I am not set to profit one way or another at either location, I am not paid or compensated by the city or any private citizens group, nor do I have any official involvement in anything. Thus, I can easily state I have ZERO bias or self-serving influence swaying my opinion in either direction and my opinion on the subject is nothing more than that… a personal opinion.

Is that clear enough or did you have any more questions I can provide direct and specific answers to?

#17 Angry Guy on 03.25.11 at 2:36 pm

Costner, you’re a wordy mofo.

#18 Joan on 03.25.11 at 6:29 pm

How many studies do we have to pay for?

#19 Pathloss on 03.26.11 at 8:12 am

Get it on the ballot. Let’s vote this turkey down so Mayor Charlie Sheen moves on. The mad man has to get back to ‘WINNING’ so city admin gets into other restricted unproductive endeavers. Entertain us with less obvious mistakes. It’s repeated admission price to ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and watching it over and over forever.

#20 Hilde on 03.26.11 at 11:03 am

Okay people. For the record, I’m not getting paid a freakin dime for my involvement with the events center. I’m not making any money from anyone so enough of that. Conversely, I have spent/contributed $2200 of my own hard-earned money to further our efforts to get the events center built downtown. I spend about 20 hours a week on this instead of getting another client. It’s called volunteerism. There are very few events I will attend at a new events center and should it be built downtown, traffic in front of my Phillips Avenue home will be adversely impacted. I’m working my tail off – not for me – but because building it in the corps part of Sioux Falls will create enormous economic benefits for this city – something our mayor has refused to advocate for. A healthy debate is best when you stay on the arguments for or against something. Stop the character assassinations when you don’t have all the facts.

#21 l3wis on 03.26.11 at 10:07 pm

Hilde, I think there has only been a few people accusing you of profiting from this. I for one have NEVER said you are making money from the venture, as of right now. Just like I have not received a penny for it. I agree with you, it should be built DT, but I still think we need to get the voters to approve a funding source, and how much, and if they want it. Then we can move to the location phase of the project. Sorry, This is the 3rd time around, and we keep failing. Why? Because we are not letting the voters decide. Get behind a funding source and get it on the ballot. This should have been voted on after the first task force. We are going about this wrong way. And while I commend your passion (Hilde & Sy) you must know by now all of these debates and cock fights are getting us no where. The only people that matter are the voters. Period.

#22 rufusx on 03.27.11 at 11:08 am

Lewis – using the fight-ring analogy you are on here – the “pre-lims” matter because they eliminate the BS that would ordinarily be thown at voters by being sure it’s exposed as what it is before it’s allowed to enter the ring as a contender.

#23 l3wis on 03.27.11 at 6:57 pm

What more is there to freaking expose? How many times do we have to draw up plans? It’s simple; Do you want it? And are you willing to take out bonds for it? This isn’t rocket science people.