Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

Argus ED Board points out the obvious problems with the Bunker Ramp

I have come to the realization that bitching about this project at this point is almost futile;

After a contentious five-year saga of fits and false starts, we’re left with something that looks more like it belongs in downtown Chernobyl post-meltdown.

Now we’re faced with setting aside our dreams of a silk purse in return for a sow’s ear.

But we find the current state of affairs unacceptable. The “finishing” touches on such a huge and visible public initiative should excite and energize the citizens of Sioux Falls. Instead, we stand disappointed and disillusioned.

TenHaken has an opportunity to begin earning back public trust in City Hall.

While the editorial makes some good points, I sometimes wonder if it is too late. I don’t think that Mayor TenHaken or his administration have ANY intention of becoming more transparent, in fact, they have been in hunker down mode for over a year, and it gets worse by the day. The super secret, hurry up and ramrod through the 5G implementation without (real) public meetings is proof of this. I said to someone the other day, “It makes you wonder all the things they are doing behind the scenes we don’t know about?”

While the previous mayor was very OPEN about his SECRECY – it was almost a badge of honor with him, this mayor pretends like it isn’t going on, but they are one in the same. I saw when Munson did this, when the next guy did it, and now our current mayor, and it is getting worse and more deceptive by the day. God help us, because I’m not sure there is much the rest of can do to stop this.

Sioux Falls Planning Commission Member Luetke has interesting response to parking ramp debacle on FB

I’m going to break his comment up into pieces since it is kind of long, and I will add my commentary. This is from Planning Commission member Larry Luetke responding to a post Councilor Stehly had on FB about the Bunker Ramp;

Larry Luetke I really think there is more to this story. The city cuts off communication with their partners two weeks before their deadline of 30 days to respond to changes with the project. It is stated in the contract that the city must respond within the 30 days. Either ok with the change, a modification or build what they were supposed too. There was no response back to them and contract was cut. It is fine if you don’t agree with the company that got it but there was a contract that was signed. Which puts us at citizens liable. Reading through the contract I don’t see where the city will win this one (I am not a lawyer). Which will put us liable for a lot of stuff beyond the 1.5 million that is short.

I’m with Larry on this one (I am also not a lawyer) but I do agree that modifying a contract is NOT unheard of, and when you cut off communication early, some wonder if something else was going on behind the scenes (not like that ever happens in city government 🙂

I think what is best for us is to allow the modifications to the project and allow the developer to start building. The lawsuit will cost us so much more.

He is absolutely correct, but we should have never taken out the bonds to begin with, and we should have halted this until we had substantial proof that the investment dollars were there from the developers. All we got was a lousy piece of paper that basically amounted to a IOU note in your piggy bank similar to when one of your older siblings stole from you.

Once finished it will bring in sales tax revenue and property tax to the city and county. Currently as a parking ramp it will pay no sales tax, no property tax and we will collect a minimal amount of parking fees.

As taxpayers, I never thought we would make much on this anyway, completed or NOT. This is why the city needed the 2nd Penny for collateral, because like most other projects we have bonded for over the past 20 years, we have had to have the 2nd Penny pay the mortgage. We have a very solid track record of multiple projects that will NEVER pay for themselves, such as the Pavilion, Events Center, MAC, Orpheum, etc.

I feel that it is our best interest in allowing the developer to move forward with their project. Some questions I would ask our city officials. If there was a meeting at one of the country clubs about another downtown hotel project in which a person said that we need to keep this quiet for a couple of weeks (which is the same time frame of when the city was not responding to their partner). Also a rumor is that the hotel project that I was just talking about was also in question of not being done because of the Village on the River project would be finished first and the other hotel would saturate the downtown hotel market. So because of that a certain project downtown would not move forward. The information I just stated is third hand but really has made me question what the real issue of why the city did not respond to their partner Village on the River.

I have no idea what project Larry is talking about, but if I was going to bet my ass on a guesstimation it would be the hotel and convention center Sioux Steel in partnership with Lloyd is proposing on that redevelopment project. But at this point, just pure speculation.

Also based on the contract the contractor is the one responsible for the performance bond. What I have heard from a partner of the developer is that this project is still a go with the modifications once the city agrees to their modifications. With the modifications they have more hotel rooms then proposed even without the extra two stories. Just as a disclaimer I have nothing to do with this project but feel based on my research and hear say we as citizens will be the burden of costs if we don’t allow this project to move forward.

Well, I hate to break it to you Larry, but the taxpayers were and are getting stiffed on this project either way. We were never going to get the parking spots we needed publicly, we paid too much for the spaces and foundation, the lease was a steal, and it is being built in the wrong place.

I will stay with my original emotions on this project – it was a bad idea out of the gate and should have NEVER even made it to a city council agenda. Thanks to Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut, another money sucking project he cooked up that is screwing over the constituents.

UPDATE: 2nd Penny will have to be used to Support Bunker Ramp

Reader submission

You can say what you want about Stehly, but she warned that the Parking Department Enterprise Funds would NOT be able to support the bond payments for the Bunker Ramp, and this is why we used the 2nd Penny Road Funds for collateral;

Mayor Paul TenHaken wants the City Council to dip further into the city parking fund to come up with another $1.5 million, which his administration says is needed to open the ramp. Using that cash would drain the account the city is using to pay back the $18.5 million it borrowed to build the ramp, making it more likely that the city could need to dip into tax dollars to pay off the debt. 

Once again folks, we are dipping into our infrastructure funds for projects that have nothing to do with needed infrastructure.

UPDATE: Joe Sneve found this great quote from TenHaken;

“Unfortunately, the public doesn’t have all the facts and getting at the ones the taxpayers do have has been a challenge. The City government needs to be open and transparent with taxpayer dollars, which includes settlements like the one in question. We all can agree that bringing openness to historically closed door processes of City government is a great move,” Paul TenHaken told KSFY News while campaigning for mayor.

Sioux Falls City Councilors defer $1.5 Million in additional spending to the Bunker Ramp

Apparently we are all out of extra money, go figure. The money is needed to fill all the ‘holes’ in the building. It’s too late, the money has already gone down the tubes 🙂

The administration waited until tonight at 10:40 PM to give the information. Erickson suggested they defer it to digest it more and she said it was unacceptable to not get the information last week, saying they knew the numbers then.

Councilor Stehly railed on them about ramrodding this project and asked for an audit of the parking department. She also asked for a deferral.

Councilor Brekke also raised concerns about last minute information and is concerned about the continuing trend of inadequate information given to the city council. She also wanted a deferral.

Councilor Soehl suggests they just approve it and it doesn’t matter if they are ‘pissed’ at the administration about the information. (yes it does).

Neitzert agrees with him, and admits he got information in advance this afternoon. He also says the councilors are being ridiculous by acting like engineers. He is right, they are not engineers, but they are in charge of the purse, and should be watching how money is being spent.

The deferral passes 5-3 (Neitzert, Selberg and Soehl voted against it).

Brekke said it best, “We have this false sense of urgency all the time, and it needs to end.”

City asking for another $1.5 million to fill holes in the parking ramp

As I heard earlier in the week, the rumors were true (Item #79);

Public Parking
Amend Capital Improvements Program Project No. 19002, New Parking Facility, by increasing the amount of funding for construction by $1,500,000 in 2019. The additional funding will not require an increase in appropriations as it will be funded by public parking user fees.

As you can see from the resolution, few details of what the money is for. I asked some city officials today about it and they said the administration is giving few details, and that the city attorney says they will probably get very few on Tuesday night. I guess they think this will be a way to quell the litigation by blocking the holes.

Why do I have an image of a Dutch boy and a leaking Levee in my mind?

The biggest question is why we didn’t have enough in our contingency fund to complete the ramp? Isn’t that why we have CMAR’s is to handle these things? You know, like when we got the million dollar event center settlement from money that was ours to begin with.

This of course will pass, but I at least hope a little shaming ensues by those opposed before hand.

Sioux Falls Bunker Ramp, the gift that keeps giving

I think I have already written that headline . . . a couple of times. Yes folks, the lawsuits keep adding up. Now a neighbor is pissed about this unsightly project;

The owners of a neighboring building just east of the Sioux Falls parking ramp, which was supposed to become a mixed-use facility, are serving notice to the City that they may sue because the project fell through.

River Centre at 200 E. 10th Street has several owners. Earthbend Properties, LLC and Riverview Holdings, LLC, which both have interest in the building, claim the City’s failure to complete the mixed-use portion of the project has caused them a loss in business and the value of their property to go down.

This is the building to the east. I think they are suing because the bunker ramp is uglier then their building, that’s my guess anyway.

I can’t even write angry rants about this anymore because it is turning into the worst decision city elected officials (and unelected officials) ever made, and when they had an opportunity to fix it, they made more bad decisions. And get this, no one has apologized yet. Not only is Trump running our healthcare institutions in Sioux Falls, apparently he is running city government to. I’m just waiting for one of the RS5 councilors to come out and say, “My vote on the Bunker Ramp was PERFECT!”.

Isn’t this attractive?

The 5G towers are starting to go up downtown. This one is right in front of the Federal courthouse. I think I have randomly counted about 5 sites downtown (there may be more).

Sioux Falls Art Mystery of the Day

So today I decided to go take some picts of the new murals. Below are some pictures of the deer mural. The top picture was from last week, the bottom picture is from today. The third eye on the deer was painted over. I asked someone today associated with the project (not the artist) what happened to the the third eye, they didn’t know, but I suspect they will be looking into it. I don’t think the mural is finished yet – maybe it is?

The definition of a third eye;

The third eye (also called the mind’s eye, or inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric concept of a speculative invisible eye, usually depicted as located on the forehead, which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.

One of the most powerful and important gods in Hinduism, Shiva is referred to as Tryambaka, or “the three eyed one” in the Rig Veda, a Hindu scripture from around 1500 BCE. In visual art, Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, and his worshippers believe he uses the third eye to manifest his powers. In the Sanskrit epic poem the Mahabarata, Shiva reduces Kama, the god of desire, into ashes with his third eye. Allegorically, this connects the third eye with wisdom and enlightenment—Shiva possesses the power to destroy the universe in order to recreate it.

I’m not sure if the eye was painted over due to censorship, or if the artist just said, “You know what, I really don’t think it looks good.”

As you may or may not know, the wall is owned by Mayor TenHaken, but I’m not sure where the funds came from to pay the artists – assuming they got paid.

Hopefully we will get some answers.

Need to fast track a mural in Sioux Falls? Talk to the mayor.

I found out yesterday that the new murals being painted in the South part of the new Raven’s parking lot may have gotten a fast track due to who owns the wall – the mayor.

While I have been literally bitching for years that more public art and murals should be downtown and across the city (in which I agree with Mayor TenHaken) I still think that the approval of these pieces should go through the proper channels.

For the record, the murals do follow the sign code ordinances and don’t advertise a specific business, and the ones that are done so far are pretty cool. That aside, it seems there really wasn’t a real process in getting these murals approved, and now I know why. The mayor still owns the building his former business, Click Rain occupies, so the murals are being painted on his property.

In all fairness to the process and openness I guess I would have let it play out like any other property owner asking for the same thing. Maybe it did, and if so, why not SHOW the public how this process works for educating others who want to pursue it?

I often tell people that government officials have a duty to not only delegate and lead, but they also have a greater duty of informing and educating the public on why they make decisions. It’s unfortunate I had to hear this thru the grapevine instead of from the administration.

But this of course doesn’t surprise me, just look at the 5G expansion.

Some people think great things get done in government if we keep it from the public. I have a word that describes those people; Dictators.

Cherapa II developer meets the city half way

As I have been hearing, the developer of Cherapa II (a partnership between Pendar & Howe Properties) offered the city $7 a square foot, the city wanted about $15 a square foot and they settled on $10 a square foot. Strangely enough the developer’s appraiser said it was worth $7 and the city’s appraiser said it was worth $15 a square foot. What a spread?!

I’m okay with this. As we know we paid way too much for this property to begin with. The ‘extra’ amount was for a switching yard out of town. What has happened is that the RR remained only a few feet from the departed property running tracks right along side it. They are still switching and storing cars less then a half a mile from the property just North of Avera and along the river by Nelson Park. In my opinion we accomplished very little with the $27 million which we had to add millions more for another viaduct under 26th street which will only allow even MORE traffic to the North in the Avera and downtown area.

That aside, it is good to see someone will take advantage of the property and I believe it’s spokesperson, Jeff S. when he says he will finish the project. Where I found this testimony a little comical is when he said that he won’t be making much money from it. I would agree with him that on it’s face, in the short term him and his partners won’t be making much except for mortgage payments, but in the long term, this property will have a big payoff. He knows it too especially when he says he is thinking of his ‘Kids and Grandkids’ future. Councilor Neitzert also went into full ass-kiss mode defending Jeff and his contribution to the city (like he was a charity) and that developers are getting beat up to much about the kind of money they are making.

Whaaaaaaa!

Let’s face it, we can’t turn back the clock, because if we could, we would have tried to eliminate most of the downtown train traffic to JUST necessary deliveries and NO switching and NO storing of cars. But Mr. ‘Get things done’ saw $27 million in the federal taxpayer’s piggy bank that he was just itching to hand over to Warren Buffet instead of actually accomplishing something.

I wish Cherapa II luck, but I have a feeling besides the $27 million we paid for this pile of dirt and the over $30 million we are paying for the 26th street overpass, we will be paying for this badly executed plan for decades in tax rebate handouts, land deals and TIFs. It’s unfortunate that the citizens can’t sue it’s elected officials for making these kind of hazardous decisions, because if we could, we would be getting massive rebates.

The RR Redevelopment project WILL go down in history as one of the WORST negotiated projects in our city!