The City of Sioux Falls should build a modern new skate park

Sioux Falls Parks worker polishing a turd.

I can hear the hypocrisy calls already. I know, I know, I’m not a fan of spending tax dollars on special interest projects, but when you compare the popularity of skate boarding with the minimal cost it would be to build a new skate park, you will see my argument.

Skate boarding isn’t some ‘new’ trendy sport kids are getting into. In fact skate boarding has been popular since the 60’s (or earlier). My brother had a skate board in the late 70’s and one of my past work managers was featured in THRASHER magazine in the early 80’s. This isn’t something that is a trend, skate boarding is here to stay.

Also compare the millions we spend each year on Great Bear, swimming, bike trails, football, soccer, tennis and pickle ball (yes, pickle ball!).

Just take that last one for instance, did you know that since Huether has been mayor there have been several new outdoor tennis court complexes built throughout the city. I know it’s hard to tell when driving by them because besides McKennan Park YOU NEVER SEE ANYONE PLAYING AT THEM! Someone I know lives across the street from one of these new complexes and he has told me he doesn’t understand why it was built because he has NEVER seen anyone playing at it.

I live within blocks of the current crappy skate park, it is always busy. I even have seen kids skating there in November and February!

Another factor is that it wouldn’t cost much to build a new park. My guess is you could probably build a decent one for a million and really nice one for 2 million. Private donors are prepared to donate $500K to the project (you know, the same amount we gave to the mayor’s private indoor tennis complex).

One of the last arguments for the new skate park is that it should already be done. You can blame all the rat finks that still have sour grapes over the Drake Springs outdoor pool. It’s been over 10 years, and they still want to punish the entire neighborhood and city because Stehly did a petition drive. A little clarity for all the haters;

We are lucky we didn’t build an indoor pool at Nelson Park due to groundwater issues it would have been a maintenance nightmare, that’s not coming from me, that is coming from our consultant we hired to study pools in our city.

We were promised a much larger pool at Nelson Park than what we got (not sure where the money went? Maybe it was part of the secret siding settlement?), we were also promised a flower garden comparable to Mckennan Park in the old location of the pool which could be spectacular with all the natural springs in the area. And guess what else was promised? A new and improved skate park.

The skate park community also likes the Nelson Park site (Northeast corner) because of the natural slopes it would create a really cool skate park. Since the space is currently open, owned by the city, and has such great natural sloping it would also be the most economical area for the park. It is also truly ‘centrally located’ unlike Spellerberg Park, and much more accessible to kids. I think the city should just drop a cool $5 million, build a new skate park, floral garden and expanded parking in the old skate park location and turn Nelson Park into the city’s finest park. Drake Springs pool is already the most popular outdoor pool in the city (something the city doesn’t like to admit).

Though money is going to be tight over the next couple of years, a new skate park is one of the most economical upgrades to our parks system considering the millions we have spent on the river greenway which is just a landscaping handout to certain downtown businesses.

Besides the Bike Trail which is the true gem of our city and FREE, a new skate park would be the cherry on the top and used a lot more than all the empty tennis courts in this town.

I just suggest the skating community wait until after the Spring 2018 Municipal election before starting the REAL discussion. Besides Huether, many of his directors may be looking for new employment also. Might as well start fresh.


#1 Warren Phear on 11.01.17 at 6:43 pm

Bottom line? Until skate boarders become a part of society that is willing and able to spend $9 for a tap beer the denny tin can, they will always be at the bottom of the priority lists.

#2 l3wis on 11.01.17 at 7:54 pm

WP, 20 years ago I would agree, but nowadays there is a lot of rich parents who have kids that love skate boarding. Due to sour grapes though, I’m sure the city will do everything in their power to NOT put it at Nelson Park. I wonder if Mr. Lesnau (sp?) would be interested in donating (he owns the SF Mickey D’s franchise).

#3 Fluff Mc Fluffin on 11.01.17 at 9:03 pm

They should start a Go-Fund Me account. I’m sure they could get a good head start on that amount if they sell it right. I’d donate as my son loves going to the Keuhn Park….er….park, to skate.

#4 anonymous on 11.02.17 at 5:37 am

Also compare the millions we spend each year on Great Bear, swimming, bike trails, football, soccer, tennis and pickle ball (yes, pickle ball!).

Either you’re for using tax dollars for special interest groups or you’re not!

It appears you are selective on this subject!

#5 l3wis on 11.02.17 at 8:54 am

Like the bike trail, if the skate park remains free and monitored by volunteers like it is now and think it is well worth it. What bothers me is when they use my taxdollars to build $25 million dollar pools, then turnaround and charge me a small fortune to go into them.

#6 The D@ily Spin on 11.02.17 at 10:15 am

🎶 You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd 🎶. Skateboarding is not a spectator sport. There’s no money without the $9 beer. Every skateboarder gets hurt. City paid insurance (if available) would be expensive.