Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Rumors still circulating about 9th & Grange greenspace

The Cathedral and Pettigrew Heights neighborhood associations have already made it clear they do NOT want the greenspace and community gardens at 9th & Grange to be used for affordable housing. Both associations have shown that there are plenty of empty lots and houses that need to be torn down throughout both neighborhoods that can be used to move affordable houses to the neighborhood without using the greenspace.

As I mentioned in the past both associations have plenty of evidence that the school district and the city have been quietly working behind the scenes to take over this space for affordable housing.

A person who attended the most recent Pettigrew Heights association meeting said a city official(?) told some of the attendees that there is still a plan to move affordable houses to the greenspace (Sanford expansion was mentioned).

The land is currently owned by the School District and they may have to get an appraisal on the land before transferring it. If that happens the school board and the city council would have to approve a land transfer (there may be some legal issues with usage). The city could take it over as a park or they could try to transfer the land for affordable housing (the city already maintains the space for the school district).

I guess the first place to watch is the school board, who currently make most decisions behind closed doors, then show up to the public meeting to rubber stamp those nontransparent decisions. The agendas will have to be scrutinized closely because they may try to slip it in on the consent agenda.

As of today, the school district maintains they have NO plans for the space . . . but would they tell us if they did?

Is the City of Sioux Falls using ‘fuzzy math’ for storm cleanup costs?

Imagine my surprise when I saw this slide in the presentation planned for tomorrow’s informational meeting on Storm Debris Management;

Obviously the live presentation will probably bring some clarity to those last 2 numbers because if they cleaned all the streets and parks for those dollar amounts they must be using Santa’s Elves for FREE. While the May storms were bad, last week’s storm was worse, but I find it a little hard to swallow with labor and equipment costs the city only spent that much. Maybe that is all they spent on clearing boulevards and streets, and if so, it is a disservice to the public. Muni government is easy, you collect taxes and you provide services. That means helping folks with storm cleanup like the city did in 2013 instead of relying on the quilting bee from church.

The Bunker Ramp big reveal

The deputy mayor is coming out of hiding at Tuesday’s informational;

Downtown Ramp – Next Steps by Erica Beck, Chief of Staff

There are NO attached documents, so this mean several things;

• They found an interested party for developing the property

• They are looking for interested parties

• They want to consult the council on how to move forward

I have suspected for a while that there are several developers in the hopper waiting to pounce on the project and all they needed the city to do is handle the legal part.

Since the city doesn’t do RFPs anymore, the administration and planning can pick anyone they want to develop the property with ZERO input from the council and the public. I think they already have an interested party and this presentation is just smoke and mirrors to make it look like they are going thru a transparent process.

With the economy the way it is, I guarantee who ever wants the ramp is going to be asking for all kinds of tax incentives from the city to develop this property.

I also don’t have much confidence in this administration or council to do the right thing since they have been doing the wrong thing for so long when it comes to this disaster of a project. Two councils, two mayors, and a payout to the scammers says all we need to know about how the project will be handled moving forward.

Maybe when it is all said and done we will finally get a public apology from the public officials for this major f’up . . . followed by pigs flying from my ass.

Slaughterhouse petition is turned in

For the record I signed the petition. I am NOT in favor of another pig manure factory being built in Sioux Falls, but I also don’t think the problem is a NEW modern facility being built, the problem is the current one that is old, dilapidated and stinks up the whole downtown. We should be working on closing a plant that is owned by Chinese communists instead of trying to prevent a modern facility owned by local farmers being built.

While it will probably make the November ballot, which is good timing by the petitioners, I think it is a violation of the 5th and 14th amendments;

nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I think Wholestone has fairly good legal standing to either stop this from making the ballot or stopping it if passed. They own the property and it is zoned correctly. There are probably numerous other legal avenues they have. I suspect this to make it to the SD Supreme Court.

*I heard yesterday that another processing plant is eyeing Sioux Falls besides Wholestone. I also heard that Wholestone will be fighting this.

Did the City of Sioux Falls give the Bishop Dudley House an Ultimatum?

I have been hearing rumors that the city has met with the shelter to tell them to clean up their act, and it comes with a timeline.

It has been NO secret that they have wanted to build efficiency transitional housing on the lot next to the shelter but many are pushing back on what is currently not working.

The supposed rumor involves the Catholic Diocese, the Dudley House board of directors, the SFPD and the city council calling on the director of the house to get her poop in a group or funding may be in jeopardy.

The biggest complaint from area businesses is that people not in the house are taking up camp on the premises and the surrounding neighborhood is not pleased. The police may also be frustrated by how calls for service are being handled.

While I am pleased the city may be putting pressure on the shelter, this really needs to be in the public forum with public input. This process could go a lot smoother with participation and transparency.

Is Sioux Falls a Bike Friendly City?

There is a lot of data out there about the how bike friendly a city is.

I would give the city props for having an amazing bike trail and adding more bike lanes in the roads. I think city (government) has made a very good effort over the past decade to make it more friendly.

I have been commuting on my bike for over 25 years. I have been in several accidents (most of them my fault and only involving my own injury due to my own stupidity).

But where can the city improve?

I would put this on private businesses, especially hospitality, who do very little to make this a bike friendly city. It is nearly impossible to find a bike rack at a restaurant in Sioux Falls (unless it was put there by the city in a public space in front of the establishment). And when the dining rooms closed at most of the fast food establishments during the pandemic (some still have limited hours – or not open at all) they would deny drive-thru to bicyclists. I found it very odd they would turn away a customer based on the form of transportation they use. I do understand you probably don’t want walk up or bicycle customers in the drive thru during night time hours, but I am still puzzled how someone on a bike would have better success at robbing you then someone in a vehicle (PS- vehicles are faster then bikes).

I find it annoying all the accommodations restaurants and bars make for people with babies in strollers and dogs but the bicyclists be damned! We have crayons for your child and a water dish for your dog, just not a safe place to lock up your bike.

Drivers need to also be more patient. I don’t find it humorous when you rev your illegal muffler truck next to me, honk at me or swear at me when I am riding in the road. If you need to get somewhere faster, I suggest you leave a little earlier. The safest place for a bicyclist is in the street where vehicles can see you. Every accident I have had on my bike has either occurred on the sidewalk or the bike trail.

I get it, Sioux Falls is a vehicle centric town, and in some ways that is city government’s fault. Just look at the 5-Year Capital Improvement program. 1% is being spent on public transit and 43% on roads. We gave away $50 million in tax breaks (TIFs) for parking ramps last year but you can’t find a bike rack to save your life. There is something wrong with that picture.

Businesses, city government, individuals, non-profits, churches, etc. need to promote less cars and more bikes. I think Sioux Falls could become a great bicycle city, now if we can just get people to stop bringing their dogs and rug rats to the bar.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken’s PAC dumps $17,500 into Dr. Sarah Cole’s Campaign

Bought and paid for.

That was my argument all along with Cole’s candidacy. A person who hasn’t bothered to vote in a local election the entire time she has lived here (another story our incredibly inept local media never touched). It’s one thing for the mayor to endorse a candidate running against an incumbent, it’s whole other ball of wax to dump this amount of money (after the final financial disclosure before the election) towards the challenger.

You have to be one major bitter, vengeful, vindictive person to go above and beyond to eliminate an incumbent, who ironically voted for almost 99% of the mayor’s policies.

Notice how the listing of the PAC is also improper (it should be Next Generation Leadership PAC). It is also concerning that the PAC itself has yet to file their July financial report. Yesterday at 5 PM was the deadline.

You will also notice that Cole spent almost $23K on advertising and over $5k on consulting. Ironically, Rich Merkouris almost spent the exact same amount on advertising. Cole never voted in a municipal election before. She never raised her own campaign funds and it appears she had little to do with running the campaign.

UPDATE: I did find the PAC’s filings on the SOS website. The original filing was in May and an amended one in June. It is pretty clear that the entities and individuals who gave to the PAC knew exactly where the money was going;

City of Sioux Falls Innovation Director jumps (the rudderless) ship

This is the 2nd Innovation Director that the mayor has appointed that has quit. The council was informed on June 30 that he ‘resigned’. Chief of Staff and part-time mayor, Erica Beck will be the interim director.

I find this ironic since just 2 weeks ago I reminded the public at a council meeting all the directors that have quit working for this mayor, you know, the guy ‘building a team’.

I have no idea why he quit, and to tell you the truth, I don’t care. I can’t give you one single bullet point of what he did while being in the position.

Innoskate Sioux Falls!

This is a great event for Sioux Falls, and I would like to thank Nancy Halverson from the Levitt for organizing the event. Tons of skate demonstrations, talks, art, food, and MUSIC!

Take the Money and Run!

So the Minnehaha County Commission got a surprise this morning;

Knife River Corp., owner of the former Concrete Materials Co., has offered Minnehaha County $65 million for the  William H. Lyon Fair Grounds.

Maybe it wasn’t that big of a surprise.

A 1999 task force went through a similar exercise with consultants and concluded the fair needed $31 million in capital improvements, but the county didn’t identify a source for the funds, Meyer said.

“It also struggled to develop an operating business model that made the fair self-sustaining and no longer continually dependent upon county subsidies as it is today,” he said.

I had a discussion with a Commissioner before the task force was created and said that if Knife River puts forth a good offer they should take it. The Fairgrounds are crumbling and Knife River needs aggregate to keep Sioux Falls growing, but there are some legal issues;

Commissioner Jean Bender, who is an attorney, said the county does not have a clear legal path to sell the property.

“That land was a gift to the county, and that gift is very tightly constrained, and the risk is if we sell that property that that property would go back to the heirs, and the county would get nothing,” she said. “So there are very significant legal impediments, which is why it hasn’t been done in the past.”

I actually think the county could overcome those hurdles, and they really should;

“If you ever want to bankrupt somebody, give them a white elephant,” Commissioner Dean Karsky said. “We have something we have to take care of, but we have no revenue source to do that.”

I have suggested that after a successful sale, the county could relocate the fair to a smaller community in the county like Dell Rapids, Brandon, Hartford, etc. The new fairgrounds could start with tent rentals and really doesn’t need a grandstand. We have plenty of entertainment options in Sioux Falls, we don’t need another concert facility. If they put the $65 million in an endowment to fund the fair moving forward, it could work well.

I hope the commission doesn’t sit on their hands and explores other options.