Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

Sioux Falls ‘Great Bear’ to Change Name to ‘Great Excuses’

If it isn’t the warm weather and lack of snow, it’s a bad chairlift, a flat tire on the snowcat, cold temps (isn’t it a winter sports facility?) or lack of employees. One year they even lost the keys to the lodge and couldn’t find them for 3 weeks. Or who can forget when we left the snow making machine at the car wash by accident and it showed up at a pawn shop 2 weeks later.

The city’s naming commission has decided to push through a name change to ‘Great Excuses’ so we can lower expectations of patrons

“We just figured since Great Bear is only open about 7-17 days during the season we might as well clarify why,” said GM Don Grinder. “Good thing we are heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, otherwise we would have gone bankrupt years ago.”

The Washington Bazillion and The Butterfly Zoo have mentioned their resentment on many occasions. Darwin Spite with the WB said, “We have tried to cancel art and science exhibits in the past when it dips below 10 degrees but somehow the furnace continues to heat the building. Covid was amazing for us though, we basically got to close down for a year. I haven’t had such great nap time during the day since I was in pre-school.”

If the naming commission successfully changes the name to Great Excuses, they have some other name changes in mind. The Premier Center will be changed to the What & Who Center, the Public Safety Center will become the FEED US FOR FREE Center and the Levitt to the $7 Bud Light Theatre.

Sioux Falls City Council needs to repeal the E-Bike ordinances on Bike Trail

As we saw this past year, CountCilor Alex ‘$127K’ Jensen tried to slip by a deal for one of his business friends to allow electric foot scooters on DTSF sidewalks. They are already allowed in our city, but sidewalks, not so much.

I do agree with one aspect of the Count’s attempt, E-vehicles for recreation like skateboards, One-Wheels, bikes and foot scooters are the fastest growing industry in the country and because it is growing so fast, it is constantly changing. But we are being held back.

A few years ago the city council decided to wring their hands over this (they do piss around a lot with stuff that will be obsolete in a few years, you know, like $26 million dollar bunker ramps to no where).

They decided the problem with the bike trail wasn’t strollers going down the middle of the trail, dogs running about off the leash or people training for the Ironman do 30 MPH down the trail they decided it was those evil E-2 bikers. Well they are a problem, but there is a better solution.

Since the passage of only E-1 vs. E-2 (nobody can really tell the difference) the real issue on the trail is SPEED, courteous behavior and awareness and not classification. As I have mentioned in the past, there are all kinds of E-Vehicles on the trail, I am not sure we can control that.

So what is the solution? It can be accomplished by 3 simple changes to the ordinance;

• Repeal the current ordinance in it’s entirety, or at least certain parts;

§ 95.031  BICYCLING.   Bicycle and e-bicycle riders in the parks and upon recreation trails shall abide by the ordinances governing the operation and equipment of bicycles except bicycling and Class I e-bicycling need not be limited to paved areas. Bicyclists and e-bicyclists shall operate their bicycles or e-bicycles in a prudent manner and with due regard for the safety of others and the preservation of park property.(1992 Code, § 27-16.13)  (Ord. 49-99, passed 4-19-1999; Ord. 118-18, passed 12-18-2018; Ord. 66-19, passed 6-18-2019)

§ 95.031.1  WHEELED MOTOR VEHICLES PROHIBITED ON RECREATION TRAIL.   It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motorized or motor driven, wheeled vehicle except a Class I e-bicycle on any of the recreation trails. This section shall not apply to or limit authorized vehicles on the levees for maintenance, patrolling, and flood emergency purposes.

• Create a speed limit on the trail. (I am not sure what that should be, but research would probably suggest 15 MPH. We could also put up speed signs about ever 1-2 miles with a solar detector telling your speed).

• Allow ALL E-Vehicle transportation (prohibiting gas/electric motorcycles, ATVs and scooters)

One of the main reasons to support this is because of what Jensen said, TOURISM!

Also, the bike trail is one of our greatest assets in Sioux Falls. I constantly shake my head with all the money we dump into concrete along the river greenway when we could be spending this money to improve this gem instead like solar lighting, 24/7 commuting, and dual trails for walkers and bikers. We could make this asset even better.

It’s time to start again and simplify our recreation trail rules and regulations.

City of Sioux Falls Meetings, Dec 6-8, 2021

Audit Committee • 4 PM • Monday 6th

• Update on External Audit of City’s 2021 Financial Statements by Eide Bailly, LLP

• Annual Risk Assessment

• 2022 Proposed Audit Plan

Sioux Falls City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tuesday 7th

• Engineering Design Standards Updates

• 2021 Crime Trends & Statistics by Police Chief Jonathan Thum (So now the City Council is finally getting a presentation yet still NO links to the Power Point presentation).

Sioux Falls City Council Regular Meetings • 6 PM • Tuesday 7th

Item #6, Approval of Contracts,

Sub Item #7, RR Crossing Improvements, $82K (I would assume this has to do with some of the development going on with the RR Redevelopment. I recently had a few beers with a business fellar who works closely in this industry that flat out told me any major changes to rail traffic through this area MUST go thru the FEDS.)

Sub Item #11, Zoo design for Lion exhibit, $482K (I find it curious this is going thru Parks and Rec. So now our parks budget is being used to ‘Design’ things for the Zoo. Just think of using this money for actual improvements to our FREE parks system?)

Sub Item #17, (you will notice this has to do with a payout to the Chamber for BID taxes since the separation from the CVB that NO ONE in the media wants to talk about. There is also NO mention of the dollar amount).

Item #40, 2nd Reading, the mysterious alcohol licensing fees.

Item #47, 2nd Reading, Fire sale for parking lot for UN-affordable housing DTSF.

Item #50, 1st Reading, approving new districts in Sioux Falls

Item #53, Resolution taking money from streets to the Facade Core Revitalization Program, $120K, but who is it going towards?

Sioux Falls Parks Board Meeting • 4 PM • Wednesday 8th

Ironically, this meeting is being held at the Overlook Cafe at the same time as the CRC meeting. How convenient? There is one item on the agenda that sparked my interest under ‘New Business’;

Sanford Parking Agreement – Don Kearney

Not sure what this is about, but maybe it has something to do with the soccer and ball fields they are building right now?

Charter Revision Commission • 4 PM • Wednesday 8th

Well, well, well. It seems the CRC has decided to move this meeting back to 4 PM instead of 3:30 PM like last month. I wonder why? There seems to be a lot more agenda items this time around . . . this will actually be a really interesting meeting. While I support Kirby’s ideas about the mayor, I don’t support rank choice. But it really doesn’t matter because the CRC will KILL all of these proposals anyway.

I’m Flattered

Imagine my surprise tonight while out for a bike ride. The city took my advice and put up sign(s) about proper decorum on the bike trail, even though I’m not sure what a ‘courteous speed’ is. There was another sign further down the trail that said ‘DON’T FEED THE GEESE. GIVE TO CHARITY’ 🙂

Did The Sioux Falls Chamber & Experience Sioux Falls (CVB) agree to split?

Not sure. While rumors are going around that a decision to split was made very recently, nobody has said a word publicly, but the Sioux Falls City Council got an update about the possible decision at the 4 PM informational today in which a presentation involving the Falls Park Visitor Center Management Agreement was discussed and these changes;

9 month Term: January 1, 2022 – September 30, 2022
• Discussions are on-going between the Chamber and Experience Sioux Falls regarding potential
separate legal status for Experience Sioux Falls.

• 9/30/21 coincides with the end of the Chambers fiscal year.
• 60 day termination clause exercisable by City, which allows for transition of agreement once an
effective date of separate legal status is determined.

This was first presented at the Parks Board Meeting on November 17, but it was also very sketchy as to what was going on. They called it ‘legal status’ changes between the Chamber and CVB and are having ongoing discussions. Terri Schmidt, head of ESF (CVB) did say;

“ESF becoming independent from the Chamber, that process is really moving along now, and tomorrow there is a major meeting where we are expecting to probably either seal the deal, or being really close to sealing the deal. I don’t know if anyone on the outside will really know the difference, it will be more of back house of becoming independent.”

While NOTHING was said by the presenter at the informational about why this is occurring, the council, who must certainly know, has also chosen to keep this quiet or at least not filling in the blanks. Council Chair Curt Soehl even bragged about keeping it quiet and secretive by saying this at the end of the meeting;

“Thank all those involved for keeping their eye on the ball and realizing there is a lot of external noise going on at this time, for all of this, and to protect the city from everything they do.”

I find it interesting that the council is being publicly noticed about contract changes but during the presentation the public cannot be filled in on the details of a possible split. The hatred towards transparency in this city is even more troubling especially when the chair of the council brags about the secrecy. WOW! Surprised he didn’t just take a potty break during the presentation 🙁

It seems the head of ESF is the only one to at least give an inkling this was going to happen. So was a deal struck last Thursday? We may never know because of all the ‘External Noise.’

I also have a feeling if this was a simple matter of ‘back house’ deals and ‘legal status’ it wouldn’t be that controversial to release that information to the public, especially since it involves our tax dollars. I have a feeling this was a lot messier than they are putting on and they are hiding the sausage making from the citizens.

The Sioux Falls Parks Foundation

I don’t have an issue with an organization like this to help raise private money for our parks, but I question this;

“The whole idea is to find donors that might have an interest in supporting the parks system with projects we’ve identified as priorities,” said Don Kearney, the city’s parks and recreation director.

Like an ice ribbon? Notice how that rolled out, once a donor said they wanted to give, their name was put on it and the tax payers had to pony up (while still having to pay an admission). While I am all for private donations to our parks, that donation should never be dictated to what it should be used for since taxpayers will likely have to maintain the project after it is built and likely contribute a matching donation to build it.

This is also why I take issue with it being a ‘private’ foundation where decisions about our parks will be made in private by a bunch of rich people who want to plaster their names all over our parks with their pet projects. I have always been a big believer of giving anonymously, modestly and having that gift go to an organization as a whole. It almost seems some of the elites in town are upset they are NOT getting the projects they want to see, so they will circumvent the legislative process.

The irony of this is that we could fund all of these projects through tax dollars (and charge no admission) if we stopped spending CIP money on play palaces we don’t need. I think we have an amazing parks system and for the most part it is FREE and almost 100% funded through tax dollars. I mean how many more Sanford parks do we need?!

And BTW, what happened to all the Sioux Falls logos matching???? I’m going to have to turn you into the Graphic Design Police.

City of Sioux Falls Thursday’s Tidbits

Sioux Falls Ethics Commission met today, but we don’t know why

It says in the agenda;

CONFIDENTIAL REQUEST FOR ADVISORY OPINION 21-1 RECEIVED 10-14-2021 (EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS PERSONNEL MATTERS PURSUANT TO SDCL 1-25-2(1) AND CONSULTING WITH LEGAL COUNSEL PURSUANT TO SDCL 1-25-2(3))

This could be anyone with the city, employee or elected official. Since it is confidential we will never know. I think even if these meetings are in private, they should at least release the question and the decision without exposing who is asking. How do we know if the Ethics Commission made the right decision if we cannot watch the proceedings?

Will the Washington Pavilion be hired to run the Ice Ribbon?

With the new ice ribbon set to be built soon down by Falls Park, some are wondering if the Parks Department has what it takes to run the paid admission facility. Since they will have to have a ticketing booth and some kind of staff to assist people, they will likely have to hire a contractor to do it. While I am sure the Pavilion could handle it, what I don’t understand is why can’t the Parks Department? Oh that’s right, besides the department being ran by a two-faced liar, they can’t even hire part-time lifeguards, now try to find part-time ice guards. Maybe we should just let the Pavilion run our entire parks department, they are already draining our entertainment tax fund every year, might as well put them to work.

Available Liquor Licenses in Sioux Falls

After the 2020 Census, Sioux Falls has become eligible for more ON and OFF-SALE liquor licenses, I am awaiting the official numbers from the city but what I have heard unofficially is there is 27 additional Package (off-sale) licenses and 19 Retail (on-sale) licenses available. Not sure how many are already spoken for. Once I get more information I will let you know.

The Curbside Garbage ordinance is already on next week’s docket

I can almost guarantee the Rubberstamp Council will pass the curbside garbage ordinance and allow haulers to charge extra for valet service:

The Sioux Falls City Council will likely consider an amendment to the city’s garbage ordinances that could allow garbage haulers to require curbside placement of garbage cans for pickup or charge extra to continue valet service.

It should be up to the consumer if they want to do it and there should be NO extra charge for the service. But it sounds like the hauler wants the city to force the consumer to do it, and if they don’t want to, they will be charged extra.

Whether the city council will support the move is another issue. In his Facebook post, Neitzert said he was “torn on this issue,” and asked for feedback from residents, and Councilor Rick Kiley said earlier this year he’d be against any such change if haulers weren’t planning on lowering rates for reduced service.


Councilor Janet Brekke has also regularly expressed her support for the current ordinance and how it keeps trash cans away from the street, improving the city’s aesthetics.

You never know, it might come to a tie vote with Poops siding with the haulers, we will see. You know my feelings on it, I think the city should contract with 4 major PRIVATE haulers and divide the city into 4 sections and pay our garbage bill with our water and sewer. We already own the landfill, why would we charge tipping fees? Yesterday while driving to work thru Cathedral neighborhood I saw two trucks parked next to each other from different haulers collecting cans at the same time on the same street. Dumb.

Oh, and let’s hear about 3 city councilors who profess about apartment dwellers being great for a neighborhood, but don’t live next to them. I do, and I love apartments, but I love my house more.

Sioux Falls Skate Park Appeal

Did Mayor Poops vow to get rid of the Poop?

During Mayor TenHaken’s re-election campaign announcement the infamous ‘Sh!t Birds’ that have made a manure monstrosity of our bike trails downtown started to squawk. Paul jokingly said he was going to get rid of them. I hope he keeps his promise. I have suggested for several years they can use air cannons to scare the birds and they will eventually move out of the area. But the biggest opponent of moving the fowl butt birds out of downtown has been the airport saying if the birds moved they could possibly get caught in jet’s engines. Probably just another empty promise from Stoneless.

When will Levitt share its financials?

While Levitt was very quick to tell us attendance this past season (Thank You!) they have yet to share the financials with us.

Here’s what I would like to know;

What was the budget for Levitt in 2021?

Salaries
Promotion/marketing
Artists Fees
Equipment Rental
Other

I would like to know where the money came from;

Individual donations
Corporate sponsorships
National Foundation donation
City of Sioux Falls funding
Rental Fees
Alcohol sales (what did Levitt receive and the percentage)
Special grants, etc.

There has been a lot of smoke blowing (not by the Levitt employees) by ‘other’ sponsors of Levitt about how much they give to the Foundation. It would be really good to know the actual numbers. Hopefully Director Halverson will be presenting those numbers to the public soon.