Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council financial update reveals some interesting tidbits

I guess I missed the first part of the informational meeting where financial director Mr. Pritchett revealed some interesting things going on. I appreciate Shawn’s honesty.

The first thing he reveals is that Sioux Empire Community Theatre owes SMG or Global, or whatever they are calling themselves these days $74K for past rentals of the Orpheum and that they have an agreement to pay $1,000 a month until it is paid up. What a deal! The Pavilion, which runs the Orpheum now requires the SECT to pay rent for events now with 50% up front.

Then there is the Event Center that actually pulled in less revenue last year, but get this, made a bigger profit (according to Global). I guess when you don’t have to pay anybody (part-timers) to work events (because very few are going on) you make more money. Go figure. I wonder if we mothballed the place we could make even more money!

We also found out why we had to ‘repair’ the HVAC system at the Denty, because it has severely malfunctioned causing leaks in the roof and damage to the ceiling. So now we have the siding and the HVAC system, makes you wonder what other things we cut corners on. A former Denty employee told me once “Don’t lean too hard on the interior walls, you may fall thru.”

Speaking of leaky stuff, the Pavilion is requesting around $6 million to fix the roof and railing on the roof. Where are they getting their bids? Certainly not from Mitchell Roofing 🙂

We also got to hear about the deteriorating Sioux Falls Stadium and what we are going to do with that money pit, but that discussion really didn’t go anywhere – as usual.

Yet we need to charge non-profits who actually bring successful events into Sioux Falls that drive the economy $70 an hour, per officer, for police protection. Go figure. As one of my former co-workers used to say about our boss/owner of the company we worked for, “He’s concerned about pennies as dollars are flying out the window.”

UPDATE: So the Events Center Campus Book Club accomplished what?

After watching the press conference, I’m confused as to what was accomplished;

UPDATE: This is Bruce’s video which includes Q & A at end.

And according to the press release;

The next steps for the administration is to use the recommendations as the basis for developing a long-term master plan for the campus. Any major construction or changes to the campus will require budgetary approval by the City Council.

In other words the ‘administration’ will do whatever they want to, and put those numbers into next year’s budget for the rubberstamp council to approve. This project(s) will cost close to $50 million dollars, this is something voters should approve, not a handful of public officials. I also like the bait and switch of the administration when it comes to the ‘recommendations’. Basically they have used the book club as patsies to get the end result they wanted. I could have told you in a 20 minute meeting before the task force even met what needed to be done. What a waste of taxpayer resources and time. Heck, Teri Schmidt probably could have told them in a 5 minute phone conversation.

Is NEW Events Center bag policy about SAFETY or SALES?

A new bag policy goes into affect tonight. While I can’t understand why anyone would want to carry in a bag or purse to a show anyway, I do understand that women like to have makeup and other personal items with them, but I wonder if the policy isn’t about safety (concealed weapons) but about people sneaking in their own beverages and snacks. The last time I paid to go to a show at the EC my ticket was $120 (very good seats) and drinks were about $50. Remember, well over 90% of what you spend at the EC (tickets, food, beverages, etc.) goes straight out of town and doesn’t get circulated in the local economy. I have asked since the place has opened what their yearly sales are and how much of that money stays in Sioux Falls and have yet to get an answer from the city who owns the facility and pays the mortgage and maintenance.

Events Center Campus Task Force Recommendations (Video)

Don’t Demolish SF Stadium, SELL IT!

In the private sector, if something doesn’t make money or at least breakeven it goes away. I have often argued that if there is truly a NEED for something, it will pay for itself. The Arena, the Indoor Aquatic Center, Canaries Stadium, The Orpheum, The Washington Pavilion and even the Zoo are operationally subsidized each year by the taxpayers. This doesn’t even include the maintenance and upkeep that comes from the CIP and entertainment tax each year. And who is the biggest offender? The Denty. The taxpayers are on the hook for millions each year in a mortgage payment no matter how many concerts come in or sponsorships.

While many people support the demolition of the Stadium, I say we keep the taxpayers out of the whole deal entirely, sell it as is.

If the Canaries want it, let them buy it and fix it up on their own dime. If a private hotel wants to build there, they can pay the cost of demolition.

Why is it that taxpayers always have to foot the bill whether coming or going? Make this simple, risk free and at no cost and sell the property, even at a discounted rate, and let private industry and the free market take care of it.

As for a public/private partnership with a hotel or baseball stadium, we need to heed the warning of what is happening downtown and the bunker ramp. If people want semi-quasi-minor league baseball in town, they can invest in it or just lease space at Harmadon park as I have suggested in the past.

‘Some’ people in town think we need to subsidize all this entertainment in town for ‘quality of life’. I am for subsidizing the city parks and other amenities, but have you ever looked at ticket prices at these places? I passed going to two different shows this past month at the Pavilion because I just couldn’t see myself paying $80 to see a 90 minute show. I made that mistake ONCE at the Denty. Never again.

I guess what I am saying is that while we are subsidizing these facilities for millions each year, what really are we getting back if you have to drop another $100 at the door? And what about all the people who either can’t go to these facilities, don’t care or cannot afford to? Why should they subsidize them? And don’t believe all this economic impact BS. If we were truly getting an economic impact from it, the hospitality jobs in this town would pay a living wage.

I think we can make this really simple, just sell the stadium as is and be done with it already.

Events Center Campus Book Club recommendations

Here are some slides from the meeting. Hope to have a video up later today.

Can we ever make the Events Center campus ‘Walkable’?

I know people already accuse me of being a Debbie Downer, but I am afraid we can never make the EC campus an entertainment district.

I moved to Sioux Falls in 1991, and always have lived close to the Downtown area and have lived by the Avera campus for the past 17 years. In this time, I have watched downtown evolve. There was only a handful of restaurants and businesses downtown in 1991, it has taken almost 28 years to make it to what it is today. I’m afraid to say, you are not going to create that kind of atmosphere around the EC campus overnight if ever.

The Washington Pavilion was the gamechanger downtown. It helped to bring in other eateries to the area. The EC and CC just hasn’t had the same impact.

The new EC and Convention Center before that should have NEVER been built in their current locations. Like the bunker ramp downtown, the city continues to polish a turd in the EC campus area.

While I agree we need another hotel in the area, turning it into a ‘walkable area’ is a stretch. I saw this on Sunday afternoon. I planned on riding the entire bike trail until I got to Russell Avenue where the trail was blockaded for the air show, so I had to ride my bike along Russell to downtown. While the sidewalk was nice and wide from the bike trail to about the Sheraton, it was a different story once I got past West Avenue. There is NO sidewalk, only a concrete angled embankment that you can’t ride a bike on, let alone walk on. The service road along Russell is in bad shape and riddled with potholes.

Along my ride on the sidewalk past the campus I noticed that NOT only is there nothing but parking lots there is NOTHING inviting about the area. Between Elmwood Park on Kiwanis and West Avenue it is literally a barren wasteland.

Besides adding onto the convention center by demolishing the Arena and tearing down the baseball stadium for a hotel, I’m not sure what we can do to totally change the area. Sometimes mistakes of the past just can’t be fixed, and if they can, it won’t happen overnight. I still think that a wiser use of taxpayer dollars would be rebuilding our core neighborhoods with a redirection of TIF money and other rebate programs. It would have a greater economic impact then anything we do at the cursed EC campus location. Enough of the corporate welfare and private/public partnerships that only benefit the top.

UPDATE: Events Center Campus Book Club makes DRAFT recommendations

From a South DaCola foot soldier today;

The task force will make a final recommendation and cost estimate on August 21, but this is what they are looking at;

• Demolish the arena and double convention center to 120,000 sq ft. (I think it would be much cheaper to use the facility and make it into a 2-story convention space structure. But I’m sure some engineer with ties to a contractor told them to tear it down instead (Actually, there is a representative from Journey Construction on the Taskforce). Did you know the Arena was basically built as a storm shelter? It is a fortress, it will cost well over $2 million to tear down).

• Build another on-site hotel through a public/private partnership. (While I agree, we need another hotel at the site, it should be done privately. The city should either sell the land or lease it. I guess we learned nothing from the DT Parking Ramp Bunker downtown).

• Demolish SF Stadium and re-locate. (I am all for tearing it down and using the land for a new hotel, BUT, if it is relocated and built somewhere else, it should be with private money).

• There was also NO mention if the public gets to vote on the deal. This could easily cost us $50 million if NOT more, it must go to the taxpayers to decide.

I guess there was NO sign of the media at the meeting this morning, so you are hearing it here first, as usual.

EC Campus Book Club meets Thursday Morning

They will meet at 8:30 AM, Thursday August 1, at the Convention Center in the Veteran’s Concourse.

I wonder if there will be an explanation of why nobody showed up to the public input meetings.

The Denty has very few concerts scheduled over next 5 months

A business operator adjacent to the EC Campus came to one of the public input sessions for EC Campus Book Club and asked why there are so few concerts and events at the Denty this year.

Over the next 5 months there is only 6 concerts scheduled and about a dozen other events.

This building isn’t cheap to operate, with that few of rentals, how can it even break even with sponsorships?

I have also heard that major corners were cut when building the facility. Someone told me that most of the internal walls are only thin sheetrock, in other words if someone pushed you hard enough into the wall, you might go thru. As with the siding, many things will have to be fixed and upgraded here in the near future. This is what happens when you ‘ramrod’ things on the cheap. Thanks Bowlcut!