What’s going on with the Events Center area task force recommendations?

The Loneliest place in Sioux Falls

I got a reminder today about the desolation of the area around the Denty when a restaurant chain nearby decided to close that location for good, citing prior to Covid things were not so hot;

But “even before COVID, some of the events in the arena had decreased from the prior heyday when it first opened up,” he said of the also nearby Denny Sanford Premier Center, which opened in 2014.

I have noticed that the city has put a lot of things on hold because of Covid, or should we say using Covid as an excuse. I think with having Covid closing down things it would have been a perfect opportunity to bulldoze Sioux Falls stadium and renovate or tear down the Arena. I have also noticed that this administration, even before Covid, doesn’t do much with recommendations unless they are something they want, like 5G.

The mayor either has his agenda or no agenda at all. I guess he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.



21 comments ↓

#1 Matt on 04.19.21 at 8:09 pm

I think they realized there are no easy and cost effective answers regarding the Arena question and chose to do nothing.

#2 l3wis on 04.19.21 at 9:21 pm

Oh, I know, that is kind of my point.

#3 Mike Lee Zitterich on 04.19.21 at 11:33 pm

The Arena is not going anywhere anytime soon, I am going to make sure of it. I have proposed to the council that we turn it into a Community Family Center just like Sioux City, and there are plenty of things we can do to utilize the Arena. I WILL NOT allow the Arena to die, nor be bulldozed, I am planning to fight to Save the Arena.
– Mike Zitterich

#4 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.20.21 at 6:17 am

The new owners of the Canaries just dropped a half a million dollars on a new video board for the stadium.
An enhancement long overdue.
This would seem to be an indicator that The Birdcage will remain (but in this town, this could also be akin to a series of events in which a street surface is completely removed and replaced during one year and another crew returns during the following year to completely raze the street to replace underground sewer, storm drainage and utilities).

#5 rufusx on 04.20.21 at 6:52 am

Think of how different this discussion would be had it been built downtown.

#6 Mike Lee Zitterich on 04.20.21 at 11:33 am

Yes, and we can also think how different the West Sioux Neighborhood would be if the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds still had the “RACE TRACK” instead of a parking lot today.

We lost our race track, which was real popular in this area, having been there since the 1940’s. If only the City would have invested money in fixing, repairing the track, updating the lighting, being this area’s top sport is Motorsports – the sky would have been the limit.

From the Fairgrounds, the Event Center Complex, the Ball Park, the Ball Diamonds, Elmwood Parks, Covell Lake, Terrace Park, to the entire West Sioux Neighborhood – if the CITY would just INVEST a little money, as much as they do with Downtown, my home neighborhood could be….

A great, and exciting Port of Entry into Downtown tomorrow. IF we used TIFS to redevelop the oldest Industrial Park along Russell Street by removing old buildings, building new buildings, let alone a Parking Ramp in that general area, the West Sioux Neighborhood could be an extention of Downtown.

But as some once told me, someone who worked for a mysterious campaign most recently, says the Developers do not like this part of town.

Did any of you know the ARENA had an amazing event recently – Motorcycles, Go Karts, Quads, attracting nearly 3,000 people to the ARENA…

– Mike Zitterich

#7 D@ily Spin on 04.20.21 at 11:34 am

Covid restrictions take away profit and then some. It’s foolish to invest not knowing how fast there will be an economic pandemic recovery. People are now used to staying home. Getting them to return to events and dining will take coercion in the form of low prices. Hence, recovery will still lack substantial profit. Money is tight and the dollar is losing value. Two variables that keep people home.

#8 D@ily Spin on 04.20.21 at 11:50 am

What’s the only sport the defense has the ball? Baseball
Minor league baseball can’t make it without attendance. Wrong time to tear down the old and build a new stadium. Instead, how about advertise ‘the old ball game’ in a historic stadium? Do something that makes a statement. I suggest a big screen over the wall in center field with ‘The Falls’ video and intermittent advertising. Home run hitters who hit and smash it get $1,000.

#9 D@ily Spin on 04.20.21 at 12:02 pm

Huether ruined the area with he and Denny’s event center. To much for lots of long term debt. If there’s a disaster, I’m going to the Arena. The Denty is inferior construction. The Arena will protect us from flying chards of EC siding. Keep the arena. The EC can become a ‘Superdome Style’ refuge for Hispanic immigrants who make it this far north.

#10 Very Stable Genius on 04.20.21 at 2:16 pm

I agree with Mike for once. The Arena is a classic example of mid-century architecture and it would be a shame to tear it down. The same goes for the Minnehaha County Administration Building, too.

( and Woodstock adds: “Ya, and the Bunker Ramp is a classic example of Neo-Boondoggle-ism”…. )

#11 You've got to be kidding me on 04.21.21 at 8:41 am

As one of the “younger” generation, I fail to see the Arena as anything other than a money sucking eyesore. It’s one of a handful of the ugliest structures in Sioux Falls and few, if any, events find value in renting it.

There will come a day when it makes financial sense to tear it down and build something that is a better fit in that location. It likely won’t be for awhile so those who are holding on to nostalgia (Mike Z) rather than embracing progress will likely see the Arena intact for the remainder of their time living in Sioux Falls.

#12 Very Stable Genius on 04.21.21 at 11:00 am

“ugliest”? I don’t notice any wrinkles in its bricks, do you?

#13 You've Got to be Kidding Me on 04.23.21 at 8:59 am

Ha! OK Boomer!

#14 D@ily Spin on 04.23.21 at 9:44 am

The architectural theme of the Arena and Canaries Stadium better represents the culture of this city. Denty chrome is cold and your tongue sticks to it. One thing for sure is Canary Stadium must stay and become revered. The stadium is outdoor and attendance will improve during pandemic recovery. Tearing it down would hurt minor league baseball. The Sioux Falls Canaries name originated before WW2. Joe Foss field was a major base during the war. Veteran organizations are now together in one complex between the airport and the stadium. There’s patriotic significance for this area.

#15 Mike Lee Zitterich on 04.23.21 at 11:44 am

The younger generation need to read up and learn more of the developments of the entire “West Sioux Area” of the city.

The entire area owes an allegiance to the National Guard Airforce Base, which constituted a ‘territory’ that pretty much today has incorporated much of the West Sioux Area from east to west between Kiwanis and Menlo Avenue; to North and South between the Alonquin Street and 6th Street.

Actually, the Airforce base had a northern section which today has become the Industrial Park, and it had a southern section which today has become the Housing Development, Commercial District, and Terrace Park.

The original Terrace Park Swimming Pool was built in the 1940’s by the U.S Airforce, to be used as a recreational area for the residents of the airforce base, it was later expanded and modernized in the 1960s to be part of Terrace Park and part of the renovation of the entire Covell Lake recreational area

For those whom really want to look at the history – Covell Avenue was actually part of “C” Avenue which flows thru the Industrial Park today, split by Russell Street, if you look closely the two roads are actually one, which back in the 1940’s was used as the main road that connected the north and south ends of the Airbase.

Burnside Street was once part of a major Highway System that flowed connected Rapid City and Sioux Falls, forming the original State Highway #38 – yes, that meant that Highway 38 once curved southward at about the point it meets I-29 today, came south connecting to the point where Madison St, Lincoln Ave, and Burnside come together which today has become the iconic 6-way stop sign today, passing on thru Burnside Street southeast to West Avenue, then south on West Ave to where it connected to U.S Highway 16 or State Highway 42 along 10th and 12th Streets.

Upon the end of World War Two – the Airbase began to change, much of the residency, at the time was roughly 20,000 residents, began to go back home, or moved to other parts of the city, during the late 1950’s – the move to redevelop the area came into focus, while during the 1960’s they moved many of the former barricks thru out the city, many of which sit along Kiwanis Avenue, some are along northern Lincoln and Elmwood Avenues, they commercialized many of the older buildings of the base become the Industrial Park today.

Upon the Federal Highway Redevelopment building I-29 and I-90 – the city then builds Russell Street connecting I-29 to North Drive (part of U.S Hwy #77) connecting to North Cliff Avenue, and this split the former C Avenuue and what today has become Covell Avenue in the southern part of the airbase.

Part of the phase was to build a “Sports Complex” along the Russell Street Corridor with the establishment of the Howard Wood Field, Sioux Falls Arena, and later the Sioux Falls Ballpark. This newfound development has become the staple of the major redevelopment of the former Airbase to a major entrance corridor to Downtown of Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls Arena is part of our history, a historical reminder of what and how our forefathers envisioned to become a huge part of Sioux Falls. The entire “West Sioux Neighborhood” once a flourishing community, in itself a town within the city – a Grocery Store, a Hardware Store, a Barber Shop, a few Bars, a Church, a Residency, many of whom were part of the Airbase Community, a State Highway that connected it to Downtown Sioux Falls, and of course it played a role in the development of what has become one of the City’s most glamerous city parks – Terrace Park and Covell Lake.

Anyone who would dare tear down the Sioux Falls Arena, must first recall, study, and understand the history of the “area”. The ARENA represents a transition from the Airbase to a Community of People whom today have become a huge part of the City of Sioux Falls. In fact – the Arena in my oppinion resembles an old “Airbase Armory” in some sort, and with that has become a lasting reminder of the history of the area.

Saving the Arena to me means alot, and as a resident of the area itself, has become a staple to the lasting reminder to our past, and with that, I will forever repay my respects to those whom came before me

In a weird twist of fate – the DENNY SANFORD PREMIERE CENTER in its own way, most resembles a more modern appearing Sioux Falls Arena, if you look closely, the design of the Denny, the huge rounded Silver Structure, identifies very closely to the roof line of the Arena itself. Coincidently, the two are now tied to the hip as one historical building while in between we have the “Convention Center” where we hold many events.

So you see, when you look at the history of the entire area, what has become an Industrial Park, the West Sioux Neighborhood, and the Terrace Park Complex today, has become an iconic symbol, a living testament to the vision of our ancestors of yesterday.

From an Airbase, to a major corridor uniting West Sioux Falls to East Sioux Falls, with Downtown smack dab in the middle of all of it.

My Story,
Mike Zitterich

Save the Arena !!!

#16 "Woodstock" on 04.23.21 at 2:18 pm

“‘OK Boomer’?”…. “Whatever happen to respecting one’s elders?”….. “While YvGtbKM gets excited about the new Chick-fil-A, some of the rest of us would rather work to preserve historical architecture”…. (“‘Okay Boomer'”…. “He’s probably one of those who liked Bernie and Trump at the same time in ’16″…. #ThereWasABigDifferenceYouKnow…)…..

#17 Very Stable Genius on 04.23.21 at 8:15 pm

Let’s not forget West Sioux Hardware while we are at it. Just sayin…. 😉

#18 Steve on 04.23.21 at 8:25 pm

Mike, good History but please learn proper use of words. Air Force is two words, as is Air Base.

#19 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 04.23.21 at 8:54 pm

But Spaceballs is one word, so why isn’t Space Force?

#20 Mike Lee Zitterich on 04.24.21 at 11:18 am

I did mention the Hardware Store above, but you got me thinking more in depth into the West Sioux Area itself.

On one city block along Madison Street – between Garfield and Lincoln, you had the following:

1) On the north side of street you had the building that housed the Grocery Store, Hardware Store, Barber Shop, a Small Cafe … meaning one could get their grocery shopping done, buy a few items to repair the house, get their hair cut, and …

Who could forget the Animal Museum housed within the West Sioux Hardware of the building, deep inside a back room inside the store (northwest section), one could view many animals, the same stuffed animals you see today at the Zoo.

2) On the Southside of Madison Street, you had the little Strip Mall – which had the Convenience/Liquor Store, Bar (Pete’s Place), a Fish Aquarium/Bait Shop, a few knitnack shops, Clothing Store.

3) The Iconic corner where Madison, Lincoln, Burnside Meet you had the DAIRY DREAM.

4) Along Garfield – there was the Water Hole (bar), General Store later became a Appliance Store, and my dad had a Repair Shop in that same building;

5)On Madison, next to Pete’s Place and the Convenience/Liquor Store, you had the Cement/Tile Store, the brown house/building still there today.

6) Elmwood and Burnside you had the Small Church, still there today, but used for storage.

7) Along Burnside Street you had the Sport Bowl, Starlite Drive In Theatre, nestled along “Sandy Creek” that once connected Covell Lake to the Sioux River to the west; later on – Harley Davison built a store in the field to the west of the Sport Bowl during the early 1990’s…

8) Much of the Area between Kiwanis on the west, and Western Avenue on the East and between Russell St and Madison St was a residential development, many of the homes were former Barricks…

9) The vast area between West Ave and Western Ave was the ‘sports complex’ — Howard Wood Field was on the western side of Western Avenue prior to 1990; the Arena once sat on the eastern side of Western Avenue, while Rice Street would lead from the residential area, follow along the southern side of the Football Stadium, while connecting to the Sioux Falls Arena along the main (front) doors, while the Arena had a ‘road’ that went all the way around the building for easy access to all four entrances…

Rice Street once extended from Lyndale east to West Avenue past the Arena following the angle of the football stadium, looping around the Arena..

Prior to the School District building their new building along Madison, that was simply an “open field” nestled between Madison St to Rice Street (Football Stadium) with Brookings Street splicing thru the field, which at the time was mainly used as a grassy parking lot at the time when large events were held at the Football Stadium, Arena, and Baseball Fields.

10) the current building housing the Sioux Falls Utilities/Environment Offices was once the Sioux Falls School District Garage/Maintenance Shop, had a garage door where the Environment Offices are today…

11) Western Avenue at the time (prior 1990) ran in a straight pathway splitting Howard Wood and the Arena, crossing Russell Street where it made a wide sweeping curve to the east; an Old Armory Building once sat at that point, where during my day (1973-1989) was used as a Dance Hall where my grandparents would attend weekly, where many of us kids would entertain ourselves in the upper floors over looking the dance hall. Today, Holiday Inn sits on that location today.

12) The new development of the southern part of the Airbase along West Avenue – you had Holiday Inn which had rooms on both the inside and the outside of the building, you had the Happy Chef that sat along the northern end of Russell where West once crossed over, and you had Super 8 directly behind the Happy Chef.

That is the West Sioux Neighborhood I remember growing up as a kid prior to 1990, when we then changed City Government in 1994, then did a major development project in the area…

Western Avenue was redone to veer to the west around Howard Wood Field, the Convention Center was built at the Arena, while the School District was built (1987-88) in the open field, and extra parking lots were added between the Arena and the Football field.

I can remember, when we had talks to build the Convention Center attachment at the Arena, which most of you remember, replaced the Downtown Coliseum, which today has become the Health Department; the new Convention Center would be built in such manner, which could be added to on the west side, which in 1995-1996 the Event Center Task Forces were beginning to take shape to attach the Event Center to the complex, so the Event Center was always going to be built on the site from the get go. All that was left to decide was the Financing Planning…

I believe much of the Event Center Archestructure was designed between 1996-2006 during Mayor Hanson’s 2nd Term, and Dave Munsons first term;

The original financing plan was to convince the State to allow cities to adopt a “third penny” which would be a short term 1% Infrastructure Tax that would ‘sunset’ upon funds being fully raised, and would had to remain sunset for a period of 2 years before any new projects were visoned, allowing the residents to take a tax break.

The 3rd Penny Tax did not pass the Legislature out of fear the Municipalities would manipulate it, meaning the legislature believed the manicipalities would manipulate the 3rd Penny in such manner, it would make plans to continue to use it every so often basically keeping it enforced 2 years from the previous projects…

Cities saw the 3rd Penny as a way NOT to sell bonds, but to raise funds for Building Projects 5-10 years into the future, simply sunsetting the tax in 2 years in between. Perhaps – maybe it would have been a much better way than leveraging the 2nd Penny Tax….Who Knows…

Mike Zitterich

#21 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 04.24.21 at 3:13 pm

But the old West Sioux Hardware store is the heart of that locale. It deserves greater attention. It was the Ebay and the over all internet for one of a kind parts before the internets existed. WSH conceived Badlands Pawn.