Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

Golf Course Shed Fire investigation ‘NOT CLOSED’

In the April(?) parks board meeting, Parks Director Don Kearney told the board that the Elmwood golf course shed fire investigation was ‘closed’.

I asked a city councilor if I could see this ‘closed’ investigation report.

Officials from the fire department told them that the investigation is still open.

I find it a little strange that Don said 2 months ago that the investigation was closed and I think the insurance company has completed it’s review. So is the investigation complete? If so, is it filed with the non-mow list?

What’s going on with Frank Olson Pool?

Councilor Stehly recently sent this notice out;

As we enter into the warmth of summer, I invite you to buy a pass to our outdoor pools. Last year I enjoyed swimming laps at the large traditional Frank Olson pool, located on east 18th street.  This pool is a wonderful addition to our “Water Park” pools. I have encouraged Don Kearney from the Parks Department to develop more activities for adults like lap swimming, water walking and Zumba classes during the noon hour and the evening family swim. Last summer at Drake springs Adults could bring in their own beverage and listen to upbeat music during the noon activities. All pools need to offer the same attractions.

The summer passes are very reasonable and can be purchased at any pool. (Children $30, Adult $70, Senior $40, Veteran, $40, Family $100, reduced income adult $40, Reduced income family $50.)

She has been concerned that Frank Olson pool is on the chopping block. She noticed Thursday night that there are NO extra activities scheduled at the pool.

She had requested extra signage be installed off 18th street and that they add a noon adult time with music, water walking and lap swimming. Hasn’t happened yet.

Public Indoor Pool continues to languish

As you can see, the indoor pool that we ‘NEEDED’ doesn’t seem to know how to grow it’s numbers.

Just look at two numbers below. The yearly passes are only at a little over 400 for a town of 180K. What is even more revealing is that only ONE person seemed to be interested in a winter pass.

You will also see the deficit. At this trajectory, the indoor pool will see it’s greatest loss for the year since it has opened, around $600K.

Let’s face it, we didn’t need an indoor public pool. We have plenty of private facilities offering this. On top of that, the poor children of our community still can’t use the facility unless they have a benefactor, because FREE passes we give for the outdoor pools don’t apply to the indoor pool.

So we stole money from a Federal Levee repayment to build an indoor public pool on Federal Land (that we don’t own) so the swim teams (and not the poor kids) could have a place to go where the taxpayers would subsidize them at a tune of over $500K a year. Another failure of the past administration. They are piling up these days.

What’s going on with ash tree removal?

Next Monday (Memorial Day) ends the time period in which Ash trees can be removed from the city this Spring. I have a tree that has been marked since last Fall and have seen no tree removal trucks in my neighborhood.

Now I understand that they can still remove them this Fall (after Labor Day). I also get it that the weather has NOT been ideal (saturated ground) but why hasn’t the city released a statement basically telling homeowners that have trees marked that they will have to just wait until Fall? I have already received 3 mail notices of the removal and have spoken with the private contractor back in February.

Maybe the city attorney is telling the administration not to talk about it in case someone wants to sue 🙂

Golf Cart Shed fire investigation concluded – So what happened?

So if you click on this meeting you will notice this on the agenda;

Kearney shared updates pertaining to the recent fire at Elmwood Golf Course. The inspectors have concluded their investigation. The damaged area has been cleared, the new fencing is up, and the new carts are being stored in that location.

So I watched the meeting (in which I had to put the speaker to my ear because the audio was so bad) and when this came up on the agenda, Kearney never said what they concluded.

Why is it such a grand mystery the cause of a shed fire? It was either arson, accidental, electrical, etc. Why isn’t the Parks Department or SFFD sharing the details with the public? It was a taxpayer owned shed.

Things that make you go hmmm.

CORRECTION: I guess if your car has a flat tire you need to get rid of it

CORRECTION: I just realized these are two different locations. The top one IS being repaired and the bottom one, well, that floated away. Sorry for the confusion.

I was looking at pictures during the informational meeting last night of the recent flood and was shocked to see these pictures. Apparently the city decided to tear down this whole picnic shelter that had one broken post. WHAT?! Even if the other posts were bad to, it would have been a lot cheaper to just replace the posts and put a new coat of paint on this instead of tearing the whole thing down. Ridiculous.

Sioux Falls City Councilors at Dem Forum • 4/5/2019

Janet Brekke, Theresa Stehly and Pat Starr bring their Sioux Falls SD citizen first messages to a joint Friday Democratic Forum lunch crowd on April 5, 2019.

The past TWO Parks Board meetings have been videotaped, you can’t watch them HERE under the RECENT tab. There has never been a formal press release or announcement of this to the public or city council. I found out from a personal email from Jason Reisdorfer.

Cathy B. Makes a pitch to help non-profits

During the last Parks Board Meeting, Cathy asks the board to discount the booth rates during festivals in city parks for non-profits. She confessed this wasn’t the first time she asked, but was told she had to go thru the proper channels (we will get to that in a moment).

Cathy showed the board how other cities charge non-profits less during festivals. Seems like a great idea. They did their normal ‘Thanks for your time.”

But what I found interesting was Cathy was told she needed to go thru the Parks Board first before the city council. I guess they have to put their ‘blessing’ on it.


The Sioux Falls city council is the policy making body of the city (it’s written in charter) not the Parks Board (volunteers) or the Parks Director (appointed). The city council could easily move to change the non-profit rate, with or without the ‘blessing’ of the parks board, the director or even the mayor.

Steps into the River, Huge Fail

I understand we are having massive flooding, so this post isn’t really about the flooding, but about why this project was way over the top. You can READ HERE all my posts going back to the beginning of the project 9 years ago and how something modest turned into a monster overnight due to a greedy developer making legal threats over a contract signed in the middle of the night with Mayor Munson.

That all aside, I did fight to keep the project modest, speaking at city council meetings and talking to councilors (Kermit was the only one that agreed). One of the options discussed, which would have been very reasonable and would have prevented any long term damage like the current situation we have was redoing the trail extra wide (like they did) and landscaping the entire area with natural rock and natural flowers and plants lining the river. Not only would have it been beautiful, it would have been very low maintenance. Instead we wasted millions on high maintenance infrastructure, as you can see above. And now we want to put a $2 million dollar effigy to egos on top of it all.

When a city decides to do projects like this, they really need to look at the long term costs of building such structures. I don’t even want to know what it will cost to repair all the damage from this latest flood. If we would have went with plan B, as I suggested, cleanup would have been a couple of people with rakes and some re-seeding, but instead we have Bread & Circus.

Overlook Café Contract appears to be a ‘done deal’ before council even approves it

Okay, I will be the first to admit, Stensland Dairy was the only company to bid on the Café contract, so it would seem inevitable that they would get the contract. They also have a very good reputation and I’m sure they will do a good job.

But what if the only bid was ‘Bob’s Taco Cart’? Would the city automatically give the contract to them? Probably not.

I found it ironic at the Feb 20th Parks Board meeting Stensland already had a menu (with pricing) done and a Catering agreement with an independent chef before they approved the contract. As the Parks Board has stated in the past, their approvals are ONLY preliminary, the City Council has to approve the final contract. They also will get approval next week on a beer and wine license.

So I guess if you are the only bidder, have a menu ready to go and a alcohol license before the contract is approved by the council, they have no choice to approve it? Talk about getting the cart in front of the horse. I think it would be funny to send a message to city administrators (parks, licensing, planning etc.) and reject the contract based solely on the fact that they didn’t go to the council first before doing everything else.