Ever wonder why no one takes a picture of themselves at Falls Park with their camera pointed North?

Oink! Oink!

It seems we have another hog trough to the South of Falls Park except these pigs are gorging themselves on TIFs.

I often wonder if the architects, developers, engineers, investors and city planners behind this project ever thought about the skyline they were creating when families and tourists take photos at Falls Park? Maybe they knew exactly what this obstruction of pre-fab concrete would look like and why no mention of the future skyline.

When planning large developments around tourist attractions (our only one) the city planning office should have been more cognizant of the final skyline.

I also wonder if Experience Sioux Falls will change all of their marketing photos of Falls Park showing off the new condolicious skyline of our namesake?

I’m not sure what this ‘One Sioux Falls’ thing is all about, but it certainly isn’t about community collaboration and input.


On June 4, 2007 the city council had a controversial item before them. (Video: FF: 9:00 – Public Input, Actual item #54 FF: 2:50 ) Whether or not to place a plaque on to the entry of Phillips to the Falls. It was controversial for a few reasons. First off, as the story goes, the plaque was purchased by several private developers and friends of Dave Munson, they wanted to honor him for getting Phillips to the Falls finished (it only took another 7 years to get something actually built on it, an ugly faceless apartment building with virtually no front footage). The plaque actually hung out in Dave’s office for awhile, then after pressure from his friends, he had it placed without any fanfare. That didn’t sit well with the media, myself, and some councilors and they asked for a review by the Visual Arts Commission. They were to determine whether it was considered ‘art’ because if it was, they would first have to approve the placement. Ultimately, the battle came down to quite a few different scenarios. First off, Dave didn’t get permission from anyone to put up the plaque, he just had it done by the parks department. Others were concerned that not others were honored. Councilor Brown pointed out that many city officials were involved in getting the project done. And who can forget Dave breaking city ordinance by not getting council approval for the 100% cost overrun.

To tell you the truth, I look back on it now, and am glad his face is the only one to the entrance, he concocted this stupid street that is finally seeing development, to the cost of taxpayers in TIF handouts. I started thinking about this incident because of the recent Ethics commission approval of Huether putting his name on the tennis facility, a facility that has received $500K in public funds. Instead of going through a process with a naming rights committee and the city council, the very board that was appointed by Huether said “It’s okay, go for it.”

Wow, a lot of things have changed in 7 years, and a lot remains the same.


Tomorrow, at the 7:00 Council meeting there will be a First Reading regarding property that adjoins Phillips to the Falls.  (The Item is not appearing on the agenda) The property borders the west side of Phillips Avenue and has already received the benefit of multiple TIFs.

At the June 5th 2013 Planning Commission meeting, Craig Lloyd appeared to request a conditional use permit for the property.  It is currently zoned C-3 which allows mixed use with residential ABOVE the first floor.  He is asking for consent to develop a four story building with the first floor consisting of 4,416 sq. ft. of commercial space and 17 TEMPORARY dwelling units.

The reason for his request became clear as he was questioned by the Commission.  The Vice-Chair of the Commission, Jessie Schmidt, clarified with Lloyd that the property had originally been planned as ALL commercial on the main floor, but a conditional use permit is being sought because of financing issues.

This is Craig Lloyd’s response,

“Right now DT has more than enough office and retail space VACANT, right around 250,000 sq. ft. vacant DT, and our lenders are not comfortable with having to put a whole bunch more retail.  We went through this process at Uptown, the one that we are just finishing on Main and that’s got residential on the main floor EXCEPT FOR WHAT FRONTS MAIN AVENUE.  We also have the Tri-State Building, by the end of next month most of that main floor will be vacant and the lenders just require us to build residential as much as we can because they can finance it and we can take it to a secondary market, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac who is our secondary market WON’T ALLOW ANYMORE THAN 20% OF YOUR BUILDING TO BE COMMERCIAL, so we’re trying to meet the requirements in those areas.  Looking into the future, because I don’t know how long this will all take to happen, but that’s the reason we’re putting 14 ft. high ceilings on the main floor so that we can convert this at some point in time when the market turns around and the demand turns around to build office space.  We can make a lot more money on commercial than we can residential, BUT IT DOESN’T FIT INTO THE FINANCING PROGRAM.(sic)”

Taxpayers have invested millions of dollars in Phillips to the Falls.  It is designed as a gateway to our City’s namesake and to one of South Dakota’s major tourist attractions.  It was NEVER intended that there be residential housing AT GROUND LEVEL along this important street.   The vacancy rate for commercial property is obviously high in the DT area and it does not appear this is going to turn around soon.  So, this is hardly a TEMPORARY request for a conditional use permit.  It is not the taxpayers responsibility to modify our City’s Vision for Phillips to the Falls so that Craig Lloyd can secure financing for his project!

In addition, he is also requesting that 25 diagonal parking spaces be placed along Phillips Avenue.  This will create the same kind of situation as on South Phillips Avenue with cars backing in and out of traffic.  Is this really what Phillips to the Falls was designed for?

For all of these reasons, I urge the Council to decline this request for a conditional use permit & ask Lloyd to build this of it’s original intent per the TIF he requested.

“I told you if we built Phillips to the Falls, they would come. I think we need to put up a plaque to commemorate this moment!”

I know is is hard to believe, but after many years, a mayor almost having criminal charges filed against him and developers crying about contamination, Uptown at the Falls is finally going to be sold by the city;

Sioux Falls City officials say high demand for development has prompt them to issue redevelopment requests for proposals in the Uptown at the Falls area.

Sioux Falls City officials held a press conference Thursday morning to announce the redevelopment request for proposals (RFP). Thursday’s proposal is the first for redevelopment of City-owned property in the Uptown at the Falls area in more than five years.

City Director of Community Development Darrin Smith said it is an incredibly exciting time in downtown Sioux Falls with the demand for development at an all-time high.

“Inviting development on Phillips Avenue in the Uptown at the Falls area is the next step to realize the dream that many of us have had for years regarding this part of downtown. We can’t wait to see the proposals the development community comes forward with,” Smith said in a news release.

The City plans to issue additional RFPs for redevelopment in that area later this year.

The City currently owns approximately three acres on three parcels located along North Phillips Avenue that it plans to make available for redevelopment.

WTF took so damn long?!

“I’m not going to be negative like that.” (actual quote at the press conference). Who wouldn’t be positive when you are spending other people’s money and hanging out with babes. (Image: KELO-TV screenshot)

Now that BNSF is NOT asking the Feds and SF to build it a switchyard, just to purchase the property – why should we get involved at all?

Seriously. If they want this land for development, then let developers purchase the land for development. Why is my money being used to clean up this property so developers can profit from it? Screw that, didn’t we learn anything from Munson’s mess called Phillips to the Falls? (which we still own because of the contamination).

Nearby, though, the city dealt with high levels of contamination to build Phillips to the Falls, and the city is paying almost $20,000 for a study of Falls Park West to figure out how to go about building there because of previous contamination from when it was used as a landfill.

If BNSF wants to sell the railyard for private development – fantastic! Sell it to private developers and keep my tax dollars out of it.