It seems almost like the city doesn’t really have a plan for the Arena? Does it?
Sioux Falls Arena General Manager Terry Torkildson said “you’ll see a drop off. It’s not going to be maintained at the level it has over the past few years, with the number of events we’ve done because we’ll move the majority over to the new events center but it will still be a very active building and a very important part of the complex.”
With sports teams like the Stampede moving on to the newer building next door, Torkildson hopes to fill these seats for other events.
“There’s always smaller, unique things that you can do in here, anything from a place for teenagers to go on the weekend, we can bring in local bands, and fill the place up that way, there’s just lots of options out there and we’re exploring all of them,” Torkildson said.
City leaders believe keeping the arena up and running allows for more events.
Sioux Falls Project Manager Kendra Siemonsma said “it offers this tremendous opportunity to bring in conventions, acts and events that will utilize all three spaces, but it also gives us the power to have more available dates.Â In the entertainment industry, if you talk to SMG (management), it’s important to have available dates.”
And one of Torkildson’s fondest memories at the arena is bringing in the Summit League Tournament.
“When we pulled that one off, and showed what we can do, I think last year there were over 40,000 people through the building during that tournament, is really one of the crowning achievements,” Torkildson said.
“There’s lots of memories here but we’re going to create bigger and better ones in the new building,” Torkildson added.
Torkildson tells us the Shrine Circus will stay at the Arena. They’ll welcome the Home ShowÂ in 2015.Â And he’s also in talks with bringing in the derby team the Roller Dolls, as well as a few acts to be announced.
This concerns me for a number of reasons;
1) I have often felt the better option would have been to refurbish the Arena instead of building a new EC and expanding the meeting rooms at the Convention Center.
2) Was there any true discussion about the future of the Arena before we went full steam ahead of selling the public the new EC?
3) There are renovation plans for the Arena after the EC is completed (I believe $9 million is budgeted) but what are those plans? And will the public be given specifics?
4) We could hardly fill the Arena to capacity before we started building the new EC, what will they do with the building now?
5) I find it a little hard to swallow that the space will be used for a lot of conventions when you have a shiny new building a few hundred yards away.
6) Why didn’t anyone propose making the Arena into the new iceplex instead of building a whole new facility, or a public rec center?
7) Is the new EC being built not because the Arena wasn’t sufficient but because some people wanted to make a little quick money (bond sales/contractors).
8) What kind of operating costs will the taxpayers have to endure to keep the doors of the Arena open, especially while we are trying to make the new EC profitable and paying down those bonds?
9) Doesn’t the city/SMG have an obligation to have a viable plan for the Arena after the EC opens? Don’t they at least owe us that much?
We got sold a brand new entertainment center without having some key puzzle pieces in place. Parking. Adequate lodging and dining in the area. And no real future plan for the Arena except a teen hangout, a circus and ‘some’ conventions. Hey, but we closed the EC deal, so that’s all that matters. Right?