Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

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!

UPDATE: No show for public input on EC campus study

The media reported this morning that only one person from the public showed up to the meeting, and Bruce and I were the only ones from the public who showed up tonight (the others were staff, TF members, etc.)

I’m NOT going to harp to much on it, because I think public input is important, and since Bruce and I were the only two there, we were able to give a lot of input. (Video is below, if you want the responses, just pause video since the presenter FF thru them pretty fast).

But a couple of things may have helped the situation.

I would have informed the public better, I never heard any public announcement about the meetings, I heard it from a fellow citizen. Is that the media’s fault? Not sure?

I would have also had all 4 meetings at night, with maybe one during Saturday morning. I would have also had them all in the same place (like the DT Library).

I could say some other things about the presentation itself, but you can watch that later and be your own judge. But two things that stuck out were too many questions about parking difficulties and this notion that somehow magically we could move the entire campus somewhere else, like DT. As Bruce pointed out, too late, and not relevant. It is where it is.

The cookies were good.

The Survey Says! The EC Campus Book Club releases survey

Whoa . . . Detroit Lewis was almost 2 for 2 today in his predictions, but I still need a little more information.

First, lets go over what the survey said and how it was conducted;

There were more than 2,000 responses submitted over the two-week period of the survey, which surpassed the goal of the project. Lawrence & Schiller analyzed 640 responses to generate its statistically significant data.

First off, I find it interesting that Jodi had the lead on this story. Did the city or L & S pay her to put up this data? Not sure, but interesting move. The irony is I recently told a city official the only two people who have the historical knowledge of city government over the past decade is Jodi and me.

The above numbers are important. As a person who has looked at voter data in Sioux Falls and who votes in city elections, I’m guessing the magic number of ‘640’ wasn’t pulled from the survey taker’s butts. I can safely assume these are almost 100% registered voters. But the data might have also been whittled down into other categories like who most likely always votes in Sioux Falls elections, or special elections like the Events Center election (which of course wasn’t a legal bond election, but an advisory vote). I can guarantee these 640 special people were carefully selected.

So let’s move onto the data;

• Only 17% wanted to save the Arena. I actually thought that number was kind of high 🙂

• 54% wanted to see SF Stadium demolished, but only 12% wanted to NOT rebuild. I find this interesting because I still don’t find the value of keeping the stadium or rebuilding. I guess I don’t have a problem with rebuilding, but it has to be done with private money. But it needs to be demolished.

And then there is the ‘DUH’ factor;

Respondents also recognize the need to integrate more retail and dining to the campus to make it a more well-rounded experience.

This is the main reason why several city leaders and business persons did NOT want to build the EC in that area, and now we are paying for it and will continue to pay for it for decades.

Statema said the survey backed up many of the ideas the committee had discussed on campus development.

“It put into context some of our assumptions and highlights some things we weren’t thinking about,” Statema said. “It helped affirm the directions that we are going in.”

Of course it did. When you use a private marketing company who whittled away two-thirds of the respondents you can manipulate the results very easily. I really don’t believe the voting public as a whole support rebuilding a new stadium, especially using tax dollars to do it (but private money, sure).

So now for my prediction. As I mentioned recently I think the reason the survey wants registered voters is because the EC Campus Book Club is going to present one heck of a BHAG. I think they are going to recommend tearing down the stadium (with plans to build elsewhere in the future). I think they will use the space for a major retail center/hotel which will be a private/public partnership with tons of tax incentives.

They will either reformat the Arena or level it for more convention space. Either way, this has been a long time coming and no surprise.

My guess is that these ‘changes’ will have an initial cost of around $50 million. That means there will probably be a bond vote of the public (Mayor TenHaken has mentioned that he would probably bring it to a vote of the people).

This is why the survey respondents were probably selected based on if they are voters and what elections they have voted in. I would love to see the blender L & S used to come up with the magical 640, but I’m guessing I would never be invited to that smoothie party.

*It is also interesting to point out that when L & S presented these results they showed pictures of the debacle parking ramp DT and mentioned that the Arena and SF Stadium both lose $614K a year. When asked about these stats, the L & S rep said, “Oh, that’ a typo.” Didn’t someone from the administration proof read this report?! 

Events Center Campus Book Club to meet Wednesday

Wednesday JUNE 26, 8:30 am at the Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 8-10.

I wonder if this meeting will also be very brief since they seem to be making decisions in sub meetings.

Does the City have ‘Big Plans’ for Events Center Campus?

There has already been talk that the plans proposed for the EC campus could be so big that the changes would have to be voted on by the public, in other words potential bonding.

So what would that include?

Recently I have been intrigued by the fact that the latest data mining EC survey online has been asking people for personal information like voter registration status. It got me thinking that perhaps they want this data to use in a campaign if the changes go to voters for the campus, changes that could include significant changes to the campus in the form of a massive public/private partnership that could cost well over $25-50 million dollars. That could be a retail complex with a hotel attached that could sit on the land where the SF Stadium is now if demolished. But I have NO idea what it could be.

With a survey out there collecting voter data, that tells me they are gearing up for some kind of major campaign and major changes to the campus. Pure speculation at this point, but worth some thought.

Is the Events Center Campus Book Club skirting transparency?

The first two meetings were several hours long with Bruce’s camera present. A foot soldier attended the 3rd meeting yesterday, it was a whopping 25 minutes long. This person got the feeling that the group is now meeting in sub-committees privately to avoid being transparent in the bigger picture. It will be interesting to see their final decisions come out of nowhere with no prior discussion (at least one out in open).

It seems the more we scream for transparency, the more they go underground.

Events Center Campus Book Club Meets Wednesday

Wednesday, May 22, 8:30 AM

Convention Center, 1201 Northwest Avenue, Mtg. Rooms 8-10