At the informational on Wednesday council got some updates on our new transit provider (FF 19:00). The Planning Director told council that last year the legislature permitted agencies like Dakotabilities and Lifescape to take a 100% reimbursement on Medicade for transit services. Jeff asked if the city would be repaid that money and the agencies said they are using the money and they are only getting 80% from the state right now. Hopefully in the future the Feds will reimburse us for Paratransit rides.


At the regular council meeting Wednesday night the council pulled the item that will fund the fitness center we are buying from Sanford for $9 million. (FF: 8:30);

A motion was made by Council Member Merkouris and seconded by Council Member Soehl to approve Sub-Item 5, Parks/Recreation: Offer to Purchase Commercial Real Estate and Asset Agreement, 24-0070, Sanford Wellness Center; Sanford Medical Center; $9,000,000.
Roll call vote to approve7 Yes: Basye, Cole, Merkouris, Sigette, Soehl, Spellerberg, Barranco; 1 No: Thomason. Motion Passed.

During the discussion, Jeff mentions that Sanford will have to lease back the property until January 1st until the city takes it over. Sanford sent club members an email;

Valued member,  

We have some brief updates to share regarding the timeline for the proposed purchase of Sanford Wellness Center Tea-Ellis by the City of Sioux Falls. Following final approval from the City Council at this week’s meeting, Mayor TenHaken signed the purchase agreement with a tentative closing date later this fall.

We acknowledge and appreciate that this approval represents a major change for our members along with some temporary uncertainty as details are worked out. With that in mind, we continue to reiterate and reassure you that nothing will change with your Sanford Wellness Center membership at this time.

Here are a some additional details:

  • The purchase process will move forward with an expected closing date within the next three months.
  • On the closing date, the City will officially own the building; however, we will continue to operate Tea-Ellis as a Sanford Health facility until the City is prepared to take over operations.
    • Tentatively, the City will take over in late 2024 and no later than Jan. 1, 2025.
    • This purchase does not include our Oxbow location, which will remain a Sanford Health facility.
  • The City’s next steps include developing plans for operations as well as membership and programming options.

Throughout the purchase and transition period, we continue to welcome questions and conversations. To help address some of your most frequently asked questions so far, we have the following resources available:

  • An FAQs page has been added to the Wellness Center website.
  • Members can also email with questions.
  • Posters with our question submission QR code have been placed at Oxbow and Tea-Ellis and are available for anyone to ask a question.
    • Answers to these questions are primarily available on the FAQs page referenced above.

We look forward to sharing more details with our members in the coming months.

Thank you for your patience, and importantly, for choosing Sanford Wellness Center to be part of your health journey.

Be Well, 

Mike Davidson, General Manger, Sanford Wellness Center
Scott Hettenbach, Director, Sports Performance and Wellness Centers

I also found it interesting that Thomason voted against the measure after asking about membership fees. I have a question into Richard asking him why he voted NO and wait to hear back from him.

You can also listen to my public input about the Dakota Scout becoming the legal paper for the city and during public input I said this;

Scott Ehrisman spoke on TIFs, development & project costs, and a previous Councilor not living in the district he represented.

This was in the notes, notice they didn’t put the name of the councilor in the minutes, I said the name, Marshall Selberg. Sneaky. I should ask the clerk’s office to amend the minutes.

3 Thoughts on “Sioux Falls City Council Tidbits

  1. EspaniaElQuo on June 7, 2024 at 5:14 pm said:

    Terrible idea for city to try and manager this facility. They will hastily be putting together operations processes between now and the end of the year when they take it over. They should be charging fees and it’s going to still be too small of a facility for a city our size and a growing west side. I doubt any new facility or grounds improvements will be made because after 9 million it won’t leave much. This would technically mean this would be the 1st official building with gyn equipment owned by the city, outside of any public safety employee equipment for training. So the city has so experience running a gym.

    When you have a majority of Sanford health directors and staff or family members on your park board like we do, no wonder we are doing what they want because Teresa, Mike, Ann, and others are on it making the decisions

  2. The Guy From Guernsey on June 8, 2024 at 7:20 am said:

    Shovel the money quickly to Sanford.
    As to an operating plan to run this facility – Figure it out (make it up?) later.

    Pretty clear that this move isn’t part of any long term strategy on the part of Kearney and the Park Board.
    Entirely an impetuous action.

  3. scott on June 9, 2024 at 3:48 pm said:

    maybe the city can give themselves a tif.

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