Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

A (Partial Training) Safety report about Falls Park released

What’s the point of giving us something that isn’t even complete? Seriously?!

It’s like the siding report and settlement all over again.

On top of that, it wasn’t even a real audit. That took place in 2013.

Well at least one city employee apologized for his lie . . . uh . . . I mean error;

In an email from Emergency Manager Regan Smith late Wednesday, he said he errored in calling the 2016 review an audit when addressing the media on March 19.

“I inadvertently called it an audit and did not clarify that the SDPAA findings were relayed orally to the city team in 2016,” Smith said. “But I felt it was important to make myself available regarding safety measures taken at our city’s namesake and that no additional recommendations were made in 2016 beyond those implemented in 2013.”

If you can’t trust the Risk Manager, who can you trust?

The Secret Park that used to be Seney Island

When I was at the Sioux Steel open house the other day, the CEO of the company said there was a public park adjacent to the river and their property. He also said it is rarely visited because no one knows it is there. It is basically the remnants of Seney Island after a backfill occurred that Sioux Steel is built on now.

So I was out for a long walk on Sunday and decided to see if I could access the park. First I tried to find a path from the 6th Street bridge, no luck. So I actually walked through the shipyard and entrance of Sioux Steel and found this sign;

Well, it certainly is a park, it has a picnic table and not much of anything else.

There is a historic marker about Seney Island (sorry I couldn’t get a picture of side two unless I stood in the river. No thanks.)

So I tried to see if there was a North Entrance to the Park from the South Side of Falls Park. I found this retaining wall at the top of the Falls with a chainlink fence only a few feet from the water. Maybe since the water was high it was covering up a trail, but I did not see ANY access to the park from the Northside. To be honest with you, I don’t even know what the name of the park is? I also think it is strange you have to walk across private property to access it. I have lived in Sioux Falls since 1991, and I never knew the park existed until last Thursday. It will be my new favorite hiding spot.

Midco Aquatic Center and Golf Course Financials

Click on Images to enlarge

UPDATE: Wouldn’t this be a nice place to build a public indoor pool?

Imagine this also, we would have room to expand, there would be plenty of parking, it would be next to other sporting facilities and a possible new public high school, and here’s the big kicker, we could get a private entity to help pay for building and operating the facility;

Sanford has plans to turn the adjacent rolling farmland it owns into a bustling sports, entertainment and commercial center.

What a grand idea that would be . . .

Oh wait, we foolishly built one someplace else with a cable company throwing us a few scraps from their monopoly business they run in town.

Much like the RR redevelopment, DT Parking Ramp and Administration ‘VETO’ building, our public indoor pool was poorly planned by an administration that was drunk with power, secrecy, entitlement, greed and impatience.

I give the Sanford Sports Complex about 5-7 years and their will be a massive indoor pool built on the grounds while Sioux Falls taxpayers continue to subsidize the Midco Aquatic Center even more.

UPDATE: A whopping 94 Annual passes have been sold this year for the Indoor Aquatic Center with a $17K operating loss for January.

Sioux Falls Park Board Meeting, Tuesday


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

3:00 p.m. Regular Board Meeting

Downtown Library, 200 N. Main Ave., Meeting Room B


1. Roll call and determination of quorum

2. Approval of minutes from January 16, 2018 meeting

3. Public input

4. Report of standing committees

a. Marketing and Public Needs

b. Park System Planning and Development

c. Partnerships and Recreation

5. Unfinished business

6. New business

a. Gate Fee Applications:

Tournaments Scott Juhnke

JazzFest Jackie Nelson

b. Great Bear Management Agreement Kelby Mieras, Dan Grider, Steve Sanford

c. CIP 2019-2023 Work Session Tory Miedema, Mike Patten

7. Report of Director of Parks and Recreation

a. Community Center report January

b. Aquatics report January

c. Ice Rink Report – January

d. Golf Course December/Year End

e. Administrative issues report

8. Items added after the agenda deadline

a. The Parks and Recreation Board may include other such business as may come before

this body.

9. Reading of communications to the Board

10. Open board discussion

11. Adjournment

Upcoming events: No scheduled press conferences or ribbon cuttings

*DaCola Note: I find it interesting that they will be discussing the CIP 2019-2023 before a new administration come in.

The Pavilion is NOT comparable to our Parks System

I still haven’t figured out exactly if this editorial by the Argus is about anything, but I certainly found this line troubling and extremely inaccurate;

It is a valuable city asset akin to our parks system, one that enriches those of us who already call Sioux Falls home.

It is NOTHING like our parks system when it comes to value. Many things in our parks system are FREE due to the taxes we pay. What is free at the Pavilion? Nothing. I suppose you could sit in the lobby and take a nap on one of the benches. The Pavilion use to offer many free events and a free visual arts center. Not any more.

And that is another reason why you cannot compare our parks system to the Pavilion. Taxpayers take it in the shorts on many fronts with the Pavilion. We NOT only subsidize operations, but the city also robs the 3rd penny entertainment tax to make upgrades to a building that really isn’t that old and went almost $20 million over budget. The 3rd penny should really be used to promote tourism and FREE public art programs in our community.

The Pavilion doesn’t give any cultural value back to the community UNLESS you pay for it, TWICE. Once in your tax bill and again when you buy a ticket.

Do we need the Pavilion? Most definitely. But I think they should bring back some FREE programming so we can truly compare it to the city’s GREATEST asset, our Parks System.

Mitchell, SD pays a third of what we did for their Indoor Aquatic Center

Okay, for disclosure reasons their pool is a little bit smaller (not by much) and they were wise enough to attach it to another public facility (what a concept), a rec center;

MSH said construction costs are below the project’s total budget and construction is on schedule for a mid-June opening.

Under budget!? The only time we have heard that in Sioux Falls is when the mayor decided to put tin foil on the Denty. Not only are they paying a third what we are for the building, the operating costs are estimated at $400K a year (and the citizens freaked when that estimate jumped from $225K). Our operating costs are at $1.4 million a year with a $400K deficit.

So now we have Watertown and Mitchell for examples. Why are we paying double to 3x more for our public facilities in Sioux Falls than in these other smaller South Dakota cities and getting less? Somebody is getting rich from building public facilities in Sioux Falls, and it isn’t the taxpayer.

UPDATE: DaCola Rumor Mill

Okay, so I get odds and ends quite often with what is happening at City Hall. Here are a few things I have heard over the past week that is interesting.

UPDATE: Councilor Neitzert was kind enough to give us updates on these items. Thanks Greg!

Affordable Housing. I guess a major affordable housing project that was supposed to provide housing to middle income professionals (condo like apartments for sale) got botched and now will have to be sold as regular housing because the fire walls were built wrong and put the project in a different classification. This is unfortunate because the project got around $300K from affordable housing and now it is out of that classification. I hope to hear more details about what exactly happened.

UPDATE: Affordable Housing Solution AHS was building the “Field of Dreams” project at 14th and Sycamore (across from Casey’s) and was getting pretty far into it when they went in I think to replat and found out that the firewalls were not 2 hour walls so they couldn’t replat and sell off as individual units.  It was a major goof, and it likely had something to do with the transition from old to new people there and also this being one of their first forays into this type of project.  There are multiple players involved, someone goofed, exactly who is not entirely clear, but that’s somewhat of a internal battle.

The bank giving them the financing froze the money for a while and made them get quotes on what it would cost to make them 2 hour walls and still be sellable as the intended single units.  That pricing came in and was way too high.  They then all had to make the best out of a bad situation and looked at either apartments or doing condos.  The lesser of the evils is condos but even that has challenges.  Condos are harder to get financing for as a home buyer and now they will need to have an association to maintain.  They have an agreement with a local bank to basically hold the mortgages on the initial ones until they get at least 50% owner occupied and then they can start selling the mortgages onto the open market (they will be conforming mortgages then).  The city essentially gave them time to bring them a workable solution, and as long as their solution is something that we still get paid back, we will approve it, they may have got to that point already.  We were going to and will be a silent second mortgage that gets paid back when the owner sells the home, i.e. instead of paying 170k they pay 150k, we pay 20k and the silent mortgage is on the property and we’d be paid back on their later resale.  There is also state home loan down payment assistance and a forgivable phased out down payment as I recall too.  Its just going to be owning a condo instead of your own place, so you will own basically the space in the entire building instead of your own unit platted into its own property.  Not optimal but they are trying to make it work.

Golf Contract. Rumor has it that Landscapes Unlimited did purchase equipment from Dakota Golf Management for the city’s original offer of $475K. Unfortunately, even if that is true, the city will have to reimburse LU for the purchase.

UPDATE: Landscape bought the equipment for 475k.  Recall that we transfer what was left in the DGM operating account into the Landscape operating account, and Landscape writes checks out of that.  It is an account in their name but it is OUR money kept in trust.  So there is no reimbursement needed.  Landscape bought the equipment out of the account in their name, but again its our money.  So ‘we’ bought the equipment, although again it is owned by them ‘in trust’ until the contract is over at which point they hand it to us.  I didn’t like this odd model which was my objection to the contract, but that is what it is.

Heritage Park firehouse. There has been speculation if the firehouse that is scheduled to be sold to Stone Group Architects was sitting on parks land or regular city property. My guess is that it is probably on city property. Why is this important? Because if it sits on parks land it must go to a public vote before any parks land property can be sold.

UPDATE: They researched and the firehouse is on city property but it has never been park property so no state law issues.  Stone group is buying the land and building and will hold clear title to that parcel.

I would hope in the contract for selling it we will have a stipulation about what it can be used for and reversionary clauses.  I would think we would.

RIBFEST calls it quits, are other festivals next?

Looks like $10 for 3 bones festival is over;

“The entertainment landscape has continued to expand over recent years with the opening of Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, The District and soon to be Levitt Shell,” Torkildson said. “SMG is refocusing its resources and efforts to managing and producing events in the venues it manages in Sioux Falls.”

I find it interesting that they would cancel this event right after getting a new contract to help manage Canaries Stadium. Makes you wonder what revenues are really like for SMG in Sioux Falls, or what they are seeing for projections.

I have been hearing rumors over the past couple of months that both CityFest (used to be LifeLight) and JazzFest may be on the chopping blocks also. I haven’t had anyone confirm that yet with me, but I do know that LifeLight as an organization has been liquidating some assets and Rob Joyce is retiring from the Jazz and Blues Society.

While I could give two-sh*ts about Ribfest or LifeLight, killing JazzFest would be very detrimental to summer entertainment. Even if they have to just scale back for a couple of years to one day, I think that would be better than trying to bring it back later. Obviously there is going to be a shift to have more outdoor festivals downtown at the Levitt, which is awesome, but Yankton Trails was a perfect venue for JazzFest. I was told at one time that JazzFest attendees are around 40% out of town (not sure what last year’s numbers were) but many stay for the entire event at local hotels and campgrounds. The economic impact of JF is pretty big when you consider all the city has to do is provide a city park for about a week they we already pay to maintain anyway.

Let’s hope for the best!

UPDATE: (New Video) Sioux Falls City Council approves golf contract

I guess I saw this coming a mile away, I figured it would be a 3-5 vote (Stehly, Starr and Neitzert voted NO) or a 4-4 with mayoral tie-breaker.

A couple of things tonight I noticed that the public might have missed;

• Erpenbach flip-flopped her intentions. I figured she would, she has a record of doing so. Last week people praised her for standing up to the contract but I warned them to be careful. I’m sure she weighed her options and realized if she voted NO she wouldn’t win anyway and didn’t want to be in the bad kid’s club. It’s all about appearance for Erp, always has been.

• Kiley and other councilors who voted yes tried to make it about an attack on the RFP process. Not at all. It was stated loud and clear by those who opposed this it was about this ‘particular’ RFP. They didn’t get enough time to review the contract, the other proposals were secret, they changed the terms from lease to management with out council pre-approval and a last minute equipment deal was taking place. The RFP process does work for many city contracts, in this case it did not because it was poorly executed. But that didn’t stop the rubber stampers from trying to kill the messenger in their justifications.

As I said during public input tonight; Secret, Secret, Secret, RAMROD! The dictator in the corner office wins again.