Entries Tagged 'MIDCO Aquatic Center' ↓

Watertown builds an entire Rec center for $23 million, we just got a pool, that we can’t expand.

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And guess what else? They built the facility so they could expand it and it’s parking! What a concept! They also have it next to a proposed Middle School! WOW! Planning ahead. I bet the lockers are big enough to at least fit your sunglasses and car keys into.

I often wonder how construction costs in Sioux Falls could be that much higher then in Watertown? I actually think it would be MORE expensive to build in Watertown a facility like this.

Like many Sioux Falls city projects, I believe the contractor and price is set before the bidding process even begins. The CMAR process is a boondoggle to make sure contractors rake the tax payers over the coals. It’s unfortunate that with all the ‘smart’ people we have working within city government (that we pay quite nicely) couldn’t see that the Indoor Aquatic Center was a complete rip-off. But Mayor Ramrod had to have it. This is what happens when you don’t let taxpayer’s decide on these projects. A NO vote on an outdoor pool only said that people might prefer an indoor pool. But since there never was an official vote we will never know. Was it a preferred location? Good Price? etc. We see what happens when we only let the mayor pick these projects, we get a huge price-tag and a $25 million dollar administration building.

Mayor Huether thinks the Events Center makes us money

Oh, Mike, how you twist thee . . .

As he was gloating over the ‘Ask the Mayor’ show Holsen produces and his great service of informing the public (because the local media does not) he mentioned that the Midco Aquatic Center will never operate in the black ‘Like the Events Center does.’

Give it up Mike. While the sponsorships and rental fees at the EC make SMG a profit and probably cover operating fees, the over $10 million in mortgage payments and normal maintenance is NOT covered by the profits of the Events Center, that comes out of our road funds. If anyone ran their business like we run the EC, they would be bankrupt in 6 months.

Midco Aquatic Center Big Success so far


I am actually glad to hear this. Like I said at the council meeting, I hope the place is so successful we don’t have to subsidize it with tax dollars. As I have often argued with public projects, if there is a true need, they will be self sufficient. It looks like the indoor pool is heading in that direction;

The Midco Aquatic Center is just one week removed from its opening day- and already the center is surpassing expectations.

In the first week-the water center drew in over 2,000 people for a swim and 600 others in for a tour.

“We are trying to really reach all different kinds of demographics and programs so that we have a lot things going on and a lot of things happening to encourage people to come join us at the Midco Aquatic Center,” said recreation coordinator, Jean Pearson.

Many people in the community say the $24 million indoor facility was a great investment for Sioux Falls.

So with this great success, will the propaganda wing of the Mayor’s office stop peddling the lies that got us here?

The ‘Wall of Lies’

The irony of voting ‘NO’ on the outdoor pool

Here is a new video about reaction.

When Tom Simmons spoke the other day, he actually was closer to the truth than he or the mayor ever could have realize. The 2014 voter was asked to select a YES box for a new OUTDOOR pool. A NO vote was to reject the outdoor pool. There never was an indoor pool on the ballot so a NO vote could be for no pool at all or maybe a larger outdoor pool or the natural pool proposal. The city never asked for other solutions. The mayor and his cronies took the outdoor pool loss as their justification for moving forward on the extravagance of an indoor facility costing 1,500,000.00 per year in deficits over the $25+ millions cost to build not counting the interest on the borrowed levee money ($30 million approx.).

In other words, did the 22,177 Simmons mentioned voting NO on the outdoor pool are going to be in hiding as they realize they let Huether going ahead on Sioux Falls spending at least $100 million dollars during its 50 year lifetime?

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Midco Exec thinks we voted on an Indoor Pool


It amazes me that an executive from the company that is sponsoring the project is still peddling the lie that we ‘voted on this’. He said this during the grand opening ceremony (FF: 9:20);

“I’m going to guess in not to long of a period of time from now, after the community has had the opportunity to visit and take advantage of this fabulous facility, it’s gonna be darn near impossible to find anyone in Sioux Falls to admit they voted no. And if they do, just shake your head and just say, every once in awhile nobody is perfect we all make mistakes.”

The mayor even goes on to say that ‘22,193 citizens who voted . . . to support our new indoor pool’ (19:20).

Yeah, I’m shaking my head that you would make the mistake of blurting out a lie. He knows better. Even after the falsehoods sold to us in the advocational sessions and election campaign leading up to the project, the players in this cheating game can’t resist to get in one last dig and lie about the pool.

One person chose to build the indoor pool. Mike Huether. There was no vote (on an indoor pool) and it wasn’t entirely paid for with cash. You would think, that with the pool already built, they could finally start telling the truth. I guess not. You won, why continue to lie?

Cry me a Pool of tears

Looks more like the Flailing Duck instead of the Cannonball


I don’t know about you, but when I go to the pool, I don’t swim in my t-shirt.

Indoor aquatic center ‘Wall of Lies’


I think Cameraman Bruce and I figured out why we were not invited as media to see the indoor pool before the public. They didn’t want us to see the ‘Wall of Lies’. I just hope taxpayers didn’t pay for this piece of propaganda.

Besides the fact that this hasn’t been discussed for 60 years, there are many claims on this mural that don’t add up. The first one (which I didn’t take a picture of) is that Nelson Park (Drake Springs) would have been the home of the first indoor pool (if that darn Theresa Stehly didn’t get involved) her name wasn’t mentioned on the article, but it was clear who they were trying to throw under the bus. The outdoor pool passed at that location of an almost 2/1 vote. Though Stehly didn’t know it at the time, it would have actually been a poor location for an indoor pool. An aquatic consultant later told the city that because of ground water issues at Nelson Park, building an indoor pool at that location would have caused major maintenance concerns. In hindsight, we should be thanking Stehly.


The only one recommending the Spellerberg site was the mayor. The voters had no part in that decision. As for the convenient parking, you should have seen the zoo with traffic that was backed up both directions for at least a half a mile on Western Avenue tonight. Where will all these people park when there is a swim meet? Good question. I have often argued that the city should have partnered with Sanford at the Sports Complex for an indoor pool. Plenty of parking and room for expansion. We are literally land locked at Spellerberg, and with the expansion of the VA, expect parking issues for years to come. Eventually the city will have to take out more green space at the park to build a bigger parking lot.


Now let’s move on to the ‘advocational sessions’ and the pack of lies surrounding the outdoor pool vote. The public NEVER voted for an indoor pool, they simply rejected an outdoor pool, as I said, in a campaign paid for by taxpayers that had so many half truths in it, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. But I take issue with the crafty language the city used with the funding, ‘. . . which included no additional City debt,’. While that statement in itself is true, we basically turned a loan over for the levee bonds. When the Feds repaid us for that loan, instead of using the money to pay it off or using it for infrastructure, we turned the debt over to the pool. We still have to pay off those bonds, so this is essentially a white lie. There is still approximately $13 million of unpaid debt.

And lastly, the mayor couldn’t resist to get his name on wall in the building with one of his silly quotes;


And the $1.5 million dollar a year subsidy we have to pay to run this place will warm everyone’s heart.

As I mentioned above, a better option would have been partnering with Sanford or even the school district on this project. If anything, the aquatic center is a failure of prudent vision in acquiring such a facility, and we will all be paying for that mistake for years to come.

UPDATE: Is MIDCO stretching the rules of there Aquatic Center Sponsorship?

Update: According to a city official the Project Team (Special projects under the Mayor) jointly agreed to the locations with Midco That decision and proposal went to the Parks board who approved the location. After approval by the parks board, they were installed.

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Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs! (26th & Western, Entry to Center, 22nd & Western)

So foot soldiers have been asking me the same question, does the sponsorship agreement with MIDCO include the entire park? No, it doesn’t. In fact the upgrades to the park came out of the parks budget, we paid for them and the building. MIDCO’s sponsorship is only to offset the operations of the facility and pay for certain equipment in the facility, it includes NOTHING in the park or maintenance of the park. So why the big signs? According to the sponsorship agreement (section 7, DOC:MidcoSponsorshipAgreement) The entry sign (to the parking lot) and the two signs on the building are well within the agreement, also any signage inside the building.

So what’s up with the park signage? Is MIDCO stretching the rules a bit? And better yet, why did the city allow this? Who saw this signage before it was placed? Naming Commission? Parks and Rec Board? City Council? Planning Commission?

The signage looks like MIDCO is sponsoring the entire park, and quite frankly, I think the signage looks gaudy in a public park.

This administration would sell the shirt off our backs if he knew he could get a couple bucks from it.