Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

Parks Board Member suggests we build whole new clubhouse after golf cart shed burns down

And they wonder why we wanted these meetings recorded?

During last Wednesday’s Parks board meeting there was a discussion about a temporary golf cart shed for 2019. One of the parks board members suggested OR asked if it would just make more sense to build a new clubhouse when rebuilding the shed (I’m not sure who said this, because they have yet to video record the meetings so we could tell who is talking). In Director Kearney’s defense he basically said that it needs to be looked at in the CIP budgeting process this year. Makes you wonder if something was promised to the new golf management contractor and a few people on the board seem to know what that is.

So if my unattached garage burned down by accident, do you think my homeowners insurance would give me enough money to rebuild my house? Hell no. If the insurance company pays for rebuilding a simple shed, then we rebuild the shed. We don’t go into full building mode. There is nothing wrong with the Elmwood clubhouse, this isn’t MCC, and we really are not competing with them. I have felt for a long time we should either sell the golf courses or just charge a flat lease. The city doesn’t need to be in the golf business anymore, especially with so many regional courses. I felt the same way about the indoor pool.

Speaking of the indoor pool, I find it interesting that while this is a government holiday, the Midco is open, but the libraries are NOT. With school in session today, where are a lot of the kids supposed to go for after school programming while waiting for parents to get off work? Maybe they can come and swim for free at the Midco?

How is the Midco Aquatic Center doing?

I was just thinking last week, how is that place doing financially? How much are we subsidizing?

We haven’t had an update in a very long time.

There is also a flurry of rumors circulating that;

• The major sponsor is NOT happy with their investment . . .

• 2019 membership renewals are not good . . .

• Sanford is planning to build an Olympic sized, competitive pool at the Sports Complex . . . (gee, what a concept!)

Not sure if any of this is true, but a financial report would help to clear up any of these rumors.

Parks Board switches meeting to last Friday instead of this Tuesday

The Sioux Falls Parks Board has been famous for jumping their meetings around to different locations and different dates and having the meetings on Tuesday’s at 4 PM at the same time as the City Council Informational. The council has taken issue with this since they cannot attend the meetings which in the past have not been recorded until now. The suggestion has been that one of the most powerful boards of the city (besides planning) should meet at Carnegie and have their meetings in front of the cameras, which just might happen.

During the last (recorded) meeting they talked about how the meetings will now be held on Wednesdays on the 3rd week of the month (I believe starting in 2019). So will they record the meetings in front of cameras? Who knows, since no one at this point has discussed this except in a Friday meeting that no one knew about, and the audio hasn’t popped up yet.

And why the mysterious change of the meeting date last week?

I guess I have never really understood the high level of secrecy and elitism surrounding the Parks Board. But I’m sure for those who serve on the board they don’t understand why transparency and openness is important.

E-Bikes Good, but let’s go a step further

A few years ago at a neighborhood meeting with former mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut, David Z had a fantastic idea. Why not make the bike trail 24/7 instead of closing it at 10 PM. His argument was simple, many people use it as a form of transit. Many people work different hours in our community. With the proper lighting on bicycles, why can’t commuters use it 24/7?

I would like to take it further, and start installing solar lighting. The Parks department already plows the trail in the winter (thank you). So why not make it functional all the time? It should be explored.

I agree the E-Bike ordinance is a good idea, now let’s truly modernize our bike trail.

Yankton Approves New Pool

This doesn’t surprise me. I figured it would pass, by at least 60% of the vote, it got over 66%. Even with about a $100 a year property tax increase on $100K valuation. I think the key to the approval was the HIGH voter turnout;

Total turnout was 43.3 percent of active registered voters in the city.

With only two precincts and a single vote issue, this is pretty impressive.

The plan for the pool is also, IMO, fiscally responsible. For around $14 Million they are going to build on the existing site with a combination outdoor/indoor facility. They also garnered around $6 million in pledged private funds with $1 million for naming rights from the Huether Family Foundation (The Yankton city commission has to vote on those naming rights).

While the property tax increase is a little steep, it is truly an investment in the community.

So what is the difference between what Yankton and Watertown has done compared to our public indoor pool? Unlike these communities, we have plenty of options when it comes to indoor pools privately with attached fitness centers. I have often thought the city should have just partnered with the Sanford Sports Complex and built it out there.

The Sioux Falls Parks and Rec department is gearing up on another master plan for their parks. Frank Olson pool is way past it’s life and there has been some talk that they want to replace it with either and indoor pool or spray park. I think they should just build a new outdoor pool. Until the Midco Aquatic Center can break even, we have NO reason to pursue another public indoor pool.

City Junk Truck sits in park for over 3 weeks

Funny, as a homeowner you are not allowed to have non-operable vehicles in front of your house or in your driveway, but apparently the city can just park them in a park (Frank Olson) for weeks at a time. Maybe someone should call code enforcement. Oh, that’s right, the city doesn’t have to follow it’s own rules.

LifeScape Parking lot expansion further proof the indoor pool was built in the wrong place

I think the debate is over, we wanted an indoor pool and we got one. But a major issue at the time was the location of the pool. While I wouldn’t be opposed to a public indoor pool built at a city park, Spellerberg Park was problematic from the get go.

Besides the fact that there is no room for expansion, one of the major issues was parking expansion of the VA. We knew the VA was going to expand, we knew they would need more parking and we knew they held the quit claim deed to Spellerberg. If the pool wasn’t built there they could have easily expanded parking into the park. NOW, we have LifeScape tearing up affordable housing in the center of our city for parking because they NO longer have space at the VA.

I still believe a public/private partnership with Sanford at the Sports complex for an indoor pool would have made more sense, and really there is nothing stopping them from doing their own pool in the future.

While the negotiations behind the RR redevelopment was one of the worst in the past administration, building the indoor pool at Spellerberg is proving also to be another poor decision from a RAM-ROD mentality of the previous administration.

No more steps in the River

So I guess the city council is about to debate expanding the River Greenway. The steps into the River came up again. Please, we don’t need this expensive, Roman like structure to continue along the river. This stupid design was cooked up by Jeff S. Cherapa and Mayor Munson in some middle of the night, backroom deal in which Smilin’ Dave promised all kinds of stuff to Jeff (in which he got – because he threatened to sue if he didn’t).

But let’s face it, the steps into the river are not only expensive, they look ridiculous, are not environmentally friendly, are unsafe and do NOTHING to clean up the river.

Trust me, this wasn’t the first time I have brought this up, when they were being originally proposed I said it was stupid.

Why?

Well not only would you save millions, it would look better and help with runoff if you designed it differently. My idea then, and now has not changed. You line the banks with natural/native, organic flowers and plants that help the runoff. You widen the bike trail, and you put in multiple mini-parks with benches and more natural landscaping. Not only would it look a 1oox better, it is environmentally friendly and saves millions in concrete expenses. On top of that the flowers along the banks act as a natural barrier to the very toxic waters, which helps safety.

The geese also need to be driven away using air cannons to force them to nest elsewhere. I have often thought spending over $10 million on a river greenway that is covered in goose sh*t really misses the mark. From Falls Park all the way to Cliff Avenue the geese nest and cover the trail in crap. The noise from the air cannons annoys them and gets them to move without killing them or hurting them.

I have also said that signs about the toxicity of the river need to be put up at Falls Park and spots where people might want to take a dip along the greenway. A bright yellow or red sign with a skull and crossbones poison symbol would do the trick. I have often thought if you made people aware of the high levels of E-Coli in the river, they would not go in there. People, it is like swimming in your toilet after you dropped one. Stop doing it!

So please. Let’s use fiscal smarts, environmental smarts and safety knowledge to expand the River Greenway and not steps into a river a couple of clowns cooked up in the basement of city hall.

$200K Magically Appears on Consent Agenda

Remember when I was talking about the $200K parks study in the consent agenda? Well guess what? It was NOT in the 2018 budget. See, technically anything in the consent agenda it must be in the budget the year before. Somehow the Parks department decided to ‘scrounge’ money from other projects to come up with the $200K. That is not how it is supposed to work.

Last night at the council meeting, councilor Pat Starr thankfully pulled the item out of the consent agenda and had it deferred so the Parks Director could explain 1) where he got the money 2) why it wasn’t budgeted for in the proper process 3) why do they need this study.

Bravo Starr!

We will be hearing about the study in an upcoming informational . . . this outta be good.

Tragedy at Falls Park

As some may or may not know there is a wrongful death suit playing out against the city after the the recent tragedy at Falls Park. Some in the legal world are watching this closely. Why?

Well, see, a few years back a guy jumped in a South Dakota public lake and suffered a spinal cord injury. He sued. He won (around $11 million). Next legislative session state law was changed so if you do something like that in a public park in South Dakota you can’t sue the state.

Fast forward to 2018. It will be curious what angle will be taken in this new case. How will the victim’s attorney (I hear it is Brendan Johnson) prove the city was liable for not warning visitors about the dangers of foam at Falls Park? How will personable responsibility play out in this case?

Some have argued that no amount of safety measures can protect people from their own ignorance at Falls Park. Maybe they are right?

There have been some good suggestions like memorial ‘Why Die’ signs. Others have suggested the signs warning of the dangerous waters were larger. Some have said fencing and special platforms. I have been suggesting for several years we have signs warning of the extreme toxicity of the water. It’s one thing to warn people about water turbulence, it’s whole other thing to warn people that the water is actually poisonous. I guess the EPA and the state DENR suggested this also to the former mayor and he refused to put up the signs because he didn’t want to ‘scare’ tourists. Isn’t that the point?

This case will be one to watch.

The Public Assurance Alliance will be funding the legal defense, and if they lose will have to pay out the claim. I suspect this may go all the way to the SD Supreme Court.