This is almost better than Mayor Bowlcut & Bucktooth dancing by himself at the Denty.
Many people have been talking about this article that popped up on the Argus Leader site on Friday. It is by the supposed anonymous food critic ‘Secret Fork’. Many have speculated, including myself, that Secret Fork isn’t such a big secret, but the GM of the Argus Leader, Cory Myers. While there has never been any confirmation of that, I don’t think the Argus would allow a food critic to write this article unless they were in some kind of leadership position, but speculation aside, let’s review;
It’s high time to declare a loss on the so-called Sports and Entertainment District.
Duh?! As I said in the title of this post, this article should have been written years ago. The EC was never going to revitalize the area, study after study proved that. The obvious recommendation was a Downtown location;
It turns out the question of whether the voters would support such a project was intertwined with proposed locations. Very early on in the process, a tug of war developed between those who wanted the project downtown versus those who felt the Arena/Howard Wood area was more suitable.
The voters would have supported a DT location, if it were explained to them. But it really is moot, because the vote on the EC was not legal and only an advisory vote. If a legal vote would have been put on the ballot, the EC would have had to receive 60% of the vote to pass. This was a trick played so the City Council could approve this project without citizens really weighing in. I still run into people who actually thought their vote on the EC mattered. It wasn’t worth the paper the ballot was printed on. It was pretty much a straw poll with voting centers.
Still, the capacity to absorb any measurable chunk of a concert crowd in the so-called â€œdistrictâ€ remains elusive. But those crowds most certainly eat and drink before and after events. Where? Downtown. That’s the very definition of irony. And failure. In a city where we have literally turned salvage yards into showcases and breathed new life into aging industrial buildings, that’s unacceptable.
Some people eat DT before events, but most of the people who attend the EC for events drive directly there, spend any money they do have eating and drinking there then go home. And why wouldn’t they? When you spend $200+ on a ticket and probably another $50 on drinks and food, you really don’t have a lot of extra dough to go DT before or after an event.
I’ll say it until I am blue in the face, doesn’t matter if we would have built a smaller EC downtown or the current one. It is a drain on the city. All of the money sucked in from the facility (I estimate around $20 million + a year) goes directly out the door to promoters, artists and vendors and never gets recirculated in our community. Add that it costs taxpayers (from the 2nd penny) another $10 million + a year for the bond and maintenance on the facility and all you really have is a money vacuum sucking it right out of our town. Imagine if the $30 million spent in entertainment each year was spent on local venues, can you imagine the impact? We could have that right now if we never built that place.
I have speculated for a long time the management company that runs the EC has preferred that location all along, because they knew that people coming from out of town would drive directly there and spend their money there. Do you really think they would have wanted people eating and drinking in locally owned restaurants and bars DT before the show and spending very little once they walked in? They have also rejected an idea I pitched to the city council we add a bond fee to each ticket (around $5) saying it would hurt ticket sales and promoters and artists are against it. Other cities do it with much success and they just simply write it into ordinance and the promoters and artists have to accept it if they want to perform here.
This place has been a Class A disaster from the beginning, just like the long list of other failed projects by a credit card salesman (Admin building, Bunker Ramp, etc.) and who can forget his terrible negotiation with the railroads allowing them to run even more trains through downtown after handing them $27 million for Federal land we probably already owned. Everything this man touched turned to sh!t, but I could have told you that 8 years ago.
There have been a lot of moles telling me he has been telling people he is running and raising money, and NOT for governor.
Whether this is true or not, it should not surprise anyone. He has been chomping at the bit to get back at city hall.
It will certainly set up an interesting scenario, especially with Erickson also looking to run for the position.
I still stick by my prediction that Paul will not run for re-election. I guess he has been getting advice from friends on whether to run or not.
I think if Paul decides to bail, you will see a whole host of people running besides Bucktooth and Bowlcut and Heels. I think you could see a possibility of 8 solid candidates. I also don’t think Mike’s chances are as good this time around. If you look back just on his 2ndÂ term he had a mountain of failures like The EC siding fiasco (still not fixed) and the fact that the revenue from the place is practically zilch and no development is in that area, also the Bunker Ramp, Administration Building HVAC, ignoring the water plant upgrades, transparency, etc, etc.
If Paul does decide to run against Mike and Christine, I still think he has the power of incumbency on his side and will win easily. Either way, whether it is Paul, Mike or Christine, were screwed in any scenario.
While Paul was still in his garage polishing his medals and ‘other stuff’ I have been following this POS project from the beginning, so it surprised me when he flat out lied about his position;
â€œObviously, you know, it’s no surprise that that project hasn’t gone like anybody would’ve like to seen it gone, myself included,â€ Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. â€œBut, it was here when I took office, trying to do the best we can with it and move it forward. I’m confident that soon we’ll see some progress happening there.â€
To Paul’s credit, he was NOT involved with the ground breaking or taking out the bond, BUT, the project was in stand still when he rolled into office, and he could have stopped it. We would have had to pay a small fine for returning the bond, somewhere around $1 million, but we would have saved taxpayers around $26 million in a project that should have never happened and he could blame Mayor Bucktooth and Bowlcut for the fiasco. Instead he accepted a bar napkin credit validation from the developer and moved forward. To say the Bunker Ramp was completed when he took office is a flat out lie. Of course, I don’t blame Paul for his normal ‘you betcha’ moment, but a cruise control media for not challenging him on that lie.
I remember when Bucktooth and Bowlcut was walking out the door, it seemed the last 100 days of his administration we were reminded of all the â€˜S**T’ he got accomplished (not my words, his). But only a little over 2 years later, let’s look at those supposed accomplishments;
Railroad Redevelopment.Â While this hasn’t totally flopped (there are a few projects and apartments being built in the area, after developer friendly deals were cut at taxpayer expense) The major developments flopped due to issues with engineering and bedrock. I actually don’t see this development ever coming to fruition for at least 20 years. It was touted as his greatest accomplishment but really was just a massive waste of Federal tax money that never solved the rail traffic issues downtown. They continue to store rail cars downtown less than a few blocks away. And to add insult to injury, we are spending millions for an overpass on 26thÂ street so the trains can continue to march through downtown.
Events Center.Â Besides the possible impending doom if Mr. S gets brought up on criminal charges, the Denty has been nothing but a complete failure only 5 short years after it opened. Not just the major screw job on the cheap siding and many other issues with the building, sponsorships have continued to fall and attendance is at near zilch. And that’s not just because of Covid. Last year several businesses in the area complained that there was little activity at the place. Besides the rusted up tin can looking like a total waste, taxpayers are stuck with propping up this place with around a $10 million dollar a year mortgage payment while a majority of the profits go straight out of town. We didn’t need a new Events Center, and I think citizens will come to that realization within the next few years.
City Administration Building.Â Besides the fact we didn’t need this place, it has had issues from day one. The HVAC that clearly got screwed up by the CMAR had to be replaced at taxpayer’s expense, with still no word from the city attorney’s office if we will get reimbursed (likely not). When we decided to gift the other city building for the TRIAGE center, it proved that we didn’t really need another city office building. This was just another developer handout because of some backdoor promises MMM made .
Indoor Aquatic Center.Â I haven’t been in the place since it opened, but what I have been hearing from peeps in the neighborhood, it is turning into a real wasteland. There has been issues with the windows, leaks in the pool and extensive rusting. And that’s just the little things. There has also been multiple complaints about customer service and the horrible locker rooms. Attendance was also down before COVID hit and our subsidies grow every year. Now I wasn’t opposed to an indoor public pool, but I think we should have done it with a partnership with Sanford Sports Complex and built the pool out there. So not a total failure, but wrong place and wrong deal. I suspect it will become VA property within 10 years.
Bunker Ramp.Â This is the disaster that keeps giving. After MMM & Mini-Mike Darrin Smith screwed up the initial development, they marched forward with the guys that were associated with the Copper Lounge collapse LLC debacle. Even though many in the public and in the developer world told them it was a bad idea to get involved with these folks, a majority of the council pushed forward. Then when Mayor Stoneless rolled in, he also passed on the opportunity to kill it (contrary to what many believe, Paul and the council could have stopped the project and paid a bond funding fine, which could have been around $1 million, but saving us about $25 million). Not only did the past mayor and council fail to stop one of the biggest dupes on the public, the current administration continues to bungle with this project. Recently they decided to sell two flat surface parking lots (I’m guessing to push those parking tenants to the ramps). The worst part is that neither the current mayor or past mayor and councils apologized for this massive f’up. ThatÂ Â building will always be a stark final reminder of MMM’s legacy of a multitude of failures.
He did have one success during his administration. He supported and endorsed Snowgates, even though he could not get it passed through the idiots on the council at the time. It took a petition drive by Stehly to get this service. So in a sense, he failed at snowgates also.
When I hear rumors about a possible run for mayor again in 2022, I look at the above screwups and wonder how he even thinks he has a snowball chance in Hell of ever serving in public office again? If I was MMM, I would just plan on spending more time at my trailer house in Wessington Springs.