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The City of Sioux Falls should build a modern new skate park

Sioux Falls Parks worker polishing a turd.

I can hear the hypocrisy calls already. I know, I know, I’m not a fan of spending tax dollars on special interest projects, but when you compare the popularity of skate boarding with the minimal cost it would be to build a new skate park, you will see my argument.

Skate boarding isn’t some ‘new’ trendy sport kids are getting into. In fact skate boarding has been popular since the 60’s (or earlier). My brother had a skate board in the late 70’s and one of my past work managers was featured in THRASHER magazine in the early 80’s. This isn’t something that is a trend, skate boarding is here to stay.

Also compare the millions we spend each year on Great Bear, swimming, bike trails, football, soccer, tennis and pickle ball (yes, pickle ball!).

Just take that last one for instance, did you know that since Huether has been mayor there have been several new outdoor tennis court complexes built throughout the city. I know it’s hard to tell when driving by them because besides McKennan Park YOU NEVER SEE ANYONE PLAYING AT THEM! Someone I know lives across the street from one of these new complexes and he has told me he doesn’t understand why it was built because he has NEVER seen anyone playing at it.

I live within blocks of the current crappy skate park, it is always busy. I even have seen kids skating there in November and February!

Another factor is that it wouldn’t cost much to build a new park. My guess is you could probably build a decent one for a million and really nice one for 2 million. Private donors are prepared to donate $500K to the project (you know, the same amount we gave to the mayor’s private indoor tennis complex).

One of the last arguments for the new skate park is that it should already be done. You can blame all the rat finks that still have sour grapes over the Drake Springs outdoor pool. It’s been over 10 years, and they still want to punish the entire neighborhood and city because Stehly did a petition drive. A little clarity for all the haters;

We are lucky we didn’t build an indoor pool at Nelson Park due to groundwater issues it would have been a maintenance nightmare, that’s not coming from me, that is coming from our consultant we hired to study pools in our city.

We were promised a much larger pool at Nelson Park than what we got (not sure where the money went? Maybe it was part of the secret siding settlement?), we were also promised a flower garden comparable to Mckennan Park in the old location of the pool which could be spectacular with all the natural springs in the area. And guess what else was promised? A new and improved skate park.

The skate park community also likes the Nelson Park site (Northeast corner) because of the natural slopes it would create a really cool skate park. Since the space is currently open, owned by the city, and has such great natural sloping it would also be the most economical area for the park. It is also truly ‘centrally located’ unlike Spellerberg Park, and much more accessible to kids. I think the city should just drop a cool $5 million, build a new skate park, floral garden and expanded parking in the old skate park location and turn Nelson Park into the city’s finest park. Drake Springs pool is already the most popular outdoor pool in the city (something the city doesn’t like to admit).

Though money is going to be tight over the next couple of years, a new skate park is one of the most economical upgrades to our parks system considering the millions we have spent on the river greenway which is just a landscaping handout to certain downtown businesses.

Besides the Bike Trail which is the true gem of our city and FREE, a new skate park would be the cherry on the top and used a lot more than all the empty tennis courts in this town.

I just suggest the skating community wait until after the Spring 2018 Municipal election before starting the REAL discussion. Besides Huether, many of his directors may be looking for new employment also. Might as well start fresh.

Jolene Loetscher for Mayor of Sioux Falls?

I know, I know. I had to do a double take when I saw the media release.

Jolene plans to make an announcement for mayor on Friday (9/8/2017) at 11:30 AM at the River Greenway Amphitheater.

I know Jolene seems to be a pretty easy going person that smiles a lot, but I’m not sure what kind of weird sense of humor she may have. In other words, is this some kind of publicity stunt to get out the vote, or is she serious?

In reality, she is NO different than Paul TenGallonManureScoop, running a media company. Another person that wants to sell us something.

At this point I am speechless and will await her official announcement before I make anymore assumptions. It takes a lot of confidence to run for mayor, maybe it is just brimming over in Jolene –  maybe this is just what Sioux Falls needs.

I warned the City of Sioux Falls about the geese problem 20 years ago

And I haven’t stopped telling them about it since. Just last year I told them to eliminate the geese from downtown. Besides the fact that they are mean and chase you, they cover the bike trail from Falls Park to Cliff Avenue in crap. What a great way to welcome visitors to our Multi-Million dollar River Greenway, covered in crap. When I first complained 20 years ago, it was at Covell Lake, and how a group of idiots kept feeding the crap making machines, they didn’t really stop and now we have it city wide. And not just crapping up our parks, it is a safety issue at the Airport.

So you would think after years of warning the city about this, they would take action. Nope, until now;

“They were absolutely fouling the fairways and the greens, making holes in the putting greens on some occasion and then just golfers having to navigate through goose droppings,” Jansa said. “It just kind of reached critical mass this year.”

So I guess when the rich golfers in town complain, than the city does something about it. I think a semi-automatic weapon in the Spring would work wonders, and donate the meat to the Banquet for a Spring Goose Feed, or freeze it and give it to Feeding South Dakota;

About 80 geese were slaughtered and are being processed for food pantry donations. Seven goslings — baby geese — were set free in other locations.

If I want to see that kind of nature I will take a nice country drive. I live in the city for a reason, and it’s not to get crapped on by a bunch of mean, goofy birds.

Stormland TV changes name to Metli-land TV for this week

I never seen a TV station go so bananners over a city planner that retired over 10 years ago (and quite frankly worked for the city TOO long to begin with).

Mr. Metli was very instrumental in getting us the river greenway bike trail and park system (the true gem of our city) and cleaning up Falls Park. He also helped get us the Washington Pavilion by tying it in with the convention center vote (unfortunately building the convention center in the wrong place). He also gave us Phillips to the Falls (that had a 100% cost overrun which almost landed Mayor Munson’s ass in jail) and now is only good for a brownfield outdoor amphitheater because of the battery acid seeping thru the ground.

I would agree, Steve was very instrumental in shaping our city, some good, some worthless urban sprawl. But Steve’s biggest accomplishment besides creating our beautiful park system along the river was making SOME developers in this town a lot of money, and giving them little too much control.

Some may say I am being a little harsh, but you only learn from history, when history is recorded correctly. I hope future planners of our city have learned a lot from Mr. Metli (both good and bad).

I will miss our FB debates.

25 years in Sioux Falls

This month will mark my 25th anniversary in Sioux Falls.

I thought about this after Jodi Schwan wrote an article about Downtown, but would have to disagree with her on a few things, but I will get to that.

I moved here in 1991 to attend school at SE Tech for Graphic Communications. My first apartment was a block West of Gigglebees, I lived there throughout schooling. I worked at a restaurant close by on Minnesota Avenue (I made $4.60 an hour, and my share of the rent with my one roommate was about $150 a month). I used to walk downtown on nice days, the only thing really opened at that time was Zandbroz and Minervas. I would try to eat at Zandbroz Soda Falls about once a month, they had killer quiche and smoothies. At that time, I was 19, I felt DT had a lot more potential, it had a lot of cool old buildings, I found out later I wasn’t the only one who thought about it.

As I was finishing school in 1993 I got a job at a printshop called PATCO printing, in the old Lewis Building (we had a run of the entire building, and some of the stuff in the basement and upstairs offices left behind was cool to dig thru). PATCO was owned by Pat Pilcher, a former state legislator in the hay day of Democrats in Pierre and a flaming liberal, I was the only male employee, and I got a lesson really quick in (female) politics. Pat used to print the NARRAL newsletter and fundraising stuff, and the ‘ladies’ would come in with wine, crackers and cheese and sit in the conference room and stuff newsletters. Mostly talk politics. Thelma Underberg (sp?) Loila Hunking and several others would grace the stuffing parties, I learned quick as to just listen. This is where I met Carol Pogones, (I think) she convinced Pat to put the printshop in downtown. Carol was on a one woman mission to revitalize Downtown, and she worked it.

Pat passed away, and her brother took over, so left to work at a different printshop, and for a short stint I moved into some apartments on Cleveland and for awhile over by Seratoma Bingo, but I wanted to be back downtown. I eventually moved to the Ronning Apartments and absolutely loved it. I was a frequenter at the Pomp Room and Jamz. I eventually got an apartment of my own a block behind Black Sheep Coffee (formerly Great Plains) I lived there for 7 years before buying my home 14 years ago near Avera Hospital. I loved being close to DT and Scott Hudson and I had a couple year stint where we met for coffee almost every weekday morning at Black Sheep talking smack and politics. It’s funny to watch all the upcoming hipsters in downtown, I knew them as teenagers working at Black Sheep. My first art exhibit was at Black Sheep and I started an art club called MAC (Midwest Artist Collective) at the coffee shop. We would do shows at various DT businesses.

I missed working at PATCO, mostly missing working downtown. I got a job at a startup company called Image Nation in the Stewart Building. I was a regular at Sanchez Taquitos and Skelly’s for lunch. I also fell in love with the restaurants. I have always worked part-time in restaurants in Sioux Falls for extra money. But I would have short stints doing other stuff like DJ’ing at the KRRO and working as lead usher for the Pavilion the first four years they were open. This is how I met Razmik Mhitarian, owner of the Touch of Europe. When the Pavilion opened, there was only really 3 staple sit down restaurants DT, Tina’s, Minervas and Touch of Europe. After several Black Russian Shots, Raz convinced me to work at Touch of Europe, in which I did on and off until almost it’s closing. I have also worked at JL Beers (horrible experience) The Diner (great experience) The Brickhouse (formerly the Brewery) and Crawfords. I also displayed my art at NITWITS comedy club, in which one night, a piece got vandalized.

I met all the movers and shakers of the DT scene over those years at the TOE, and to this day have several strangers tell me I waited on them down there on first dates and marriage proposals. While I was mostly brash and rude, most liked my sense of humor, we really knew how to weed out the customers we didn’t want, it was our reputation. When the Pomp closed, the Jazz scene really exploded at the Touch of Europe, and since Tina’s and Minervas would close at 9 PM, we got the after show rush of the Pavilion. Some people don’t believe me, but we would usually stay open until almost 2 AM, and after parties would last sometimes until 6 AM.

It was really a cool time to be DT, (about 12 years ago) and I knew better things were coming. I will always give credit to Carol for putting a boot up Dave Munson’s ass to get DT rolling. I’m sure he tells a different story :). And the Pavilion was huge to the success and growth of DT. Mayor Huether really was handed the success of DT on a silver platter from Dave’s administration.

This is where I differ on Jodi’s opinion of how DT can grow;

Probably more disappointing is that the city doesn’t appear to be successfully driving these sorts of creative partnerships. And it’s not only happening with the River Greenway project.

I think in the comings weeks we will learn about a renewed effort to build a mixed-use parking ramp east of the future Lewis Drug, but sadly with better strategy and leadership a more comprehensive project already could have been under construction there. The effort to make a small triangle of city property on Ninth Street available for riverfront development seemingly has stalled. My guess is before the end of the year we will see more discussion about potential uses for the railyard property.

But all these opportunities will require political will if we are going to maximize them, and given the mood of the current City Council I’m not sure how well-received much additional attention for downtown will be. Any leadership here may have to come again from the business community.

“I would love to see three or four cranes downtown,” Houwman said at the Washington Square event. “There are underutilized, underdeveloped properties downtown.”

It’s a commendable vision. But it would be more likely fulfilled if the public sector were driving momentum downtown as well as the private sector is.

I suppose we can throw a lot of public money at DT, as Huether and Darrin Smith have done, but I really think the business and development community need to pony up now, I think of the blood, sweat and tears people like Jeff Danz, Razmik, Kristina Kuehn, Erika and Dave Billion and the Hazards have put in DT over the years, they did this on their own, they made it happen. We can hand out TIF’s like candy and offer incentives to Raven Industries and Cherapa place by building them tax funded store fronts, but the real progress and growth for DT will come the old fashion way, like from people like Zach DeBoer who spent $200 of his own money to paint stripes on the street.

I would really like to see the business community tell city government, “Thanks for your help over the years, but we got it from here.”

 

Of all the things I love about Sioux Falls, it’s Downtown is the true Gem of the city, it’s been successful because individuals and businesses have decided to invest in it. Whether the city wants to throw more tax payer money at it is up in the air (they actually do thru several TIF’s, special property tax assessments and the facade easement program) but I don’t see this freight train stopping anytime soon.

City Councilor-Elect Greg Neitzert Reiterates His Priorities on Installation Day

greg-neizert-city-council

For Immediate Release

 

Release Date:  May 17, 2016

Contact:  Greg Neitzert (pronounced Nite-Cert)

Phone:  605-929-9118 

Web: http://www.gregforcouncil.com

Email:  GNeitzert@siouxfalls.org

 

 

City Councilor-Elect Greg Neitzert Reiterates His Priorities on Installation Day

 

“On the day I officially will be sworn in to represent the Northwest District of Sioux Falls, I felt it was important to reiterate and restate my main priorities as a City Councilor” says Greg Neitzert.  “These priorities were shaped by what I heard from the hundreds of citizens I met going door to door over the last several months.”

 

Greg Neitzert’s Main Priorities: Repair and Rebuild Roads, Explore Alternatives to the Current Administration Building Proposal, Fiscally Conservative Leadership, Affordable Housing, Quality of Life Everyone Can Afford, Transparency, and Zoning to Protect Neighborhoods

 

  1. Repairing and Rebuilding our roads is a top priority.  “I saw firsthand the condition of many of our local roads as I walked the neighborhoods of the Northwest district.  We need to accelerate the reconstruction of our neighborhood roads,” says Greg Neitzert.

 

  1. “We need to explore alternatives to the current administration building proposal.  We need to protect the taxpayer dollar and prioritize our precious second penny sales tax funds,” says Greg Neitzert.

 

  1. I will bring fiscally conservative leadership to the city council,” says Greg Neitzert.  “That means keeping our debt in check, as well as holding the line on user fees and taxes.  Our citizens, particularly those on fixed incomes, have been pinched over the last several years.”

 

  1. “We need to do what we can to address our shortage of affordable housing in Sioux Falls,” says Greg Neitzert.  “While many of the factors are market-based and out of the control of city government, there are factors we can control as a city.  We need to remember that every time we raise user fees and taxes, we make the problem worse.”

 

  1. “As a city, we need to provide a quality of life everyone can afford,” says Greg Neitzert.  “Our city has a river greenway and bike trail system that is the envy of other cities throughout the nation.  We need to expand the bike trail and protect and enhance our river greenway.  We need to add more parks and outdoor pools in the outer areas of the city, including the Northwest district.”

 

  1. “Transparency in government builds trust with the public, there is nothing to hide and there is no reason for secrecy.” says Greg Neitzert.

 

  1. “We need to protect and preserve neighborhoods with zoning,” says Greg Neitzert.  “We need to provide a business friendly climate that promotes growth and prosperity, while at the same time providing residential uses with maximum protection.  As existing commercial development expands, we must preserve the unique character of our neighborhoods and provide appropriate and sufficient land use transitions and buffering.”

 

NOTE:  The Installation Ceremony will take place at 2pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at Carnegie Town Hall, 235 W. 10th St, Sioux Falls, SD.

Best of DaCola

Sense of humor?

Worst President Ever?

I can still dream? Can’t I?

I wonder what these numbers look like 6 years later?

Redlight camera contracts

Leadershit

Once a Dick, always a Dick

Sioux Falls has jobs!

How about a follow-up report LA Times?

A socialist party, party?

A very disappointed Tea-Bagger

Just Chillin with Barry

Enforce my code

Chief Apologizer

The SAFE Home has been successful

Envirotard

Stretching the truth

Dusty the PUCster

Mr. Myers first shot at healthcare

Big Boy VS. Idiot boy

White people

Quality of life bonds and the river greenway boondoggle

SF Parks and Rec slush fund

Republican rebranding

Search this!

Should have taken my advice on paying for the levees as Fed money was available and we wouldn’t be stuck with debt and interest on an indoor pool – Huh?

Carnegie Hall Squares

 

Is Mayor Mike Huether continuing to use tax dollars to campaign for higher office?

Well isn’t that the $100,000 question?

The third annual Mayor’s Big Sioux River Water Quality Summit will be held at the Days Inn Convention Center in Brookings, SD, on September 10, 2015.

I will say this, I don’t care if he is running for higher office, whether that is a congressional seat or governor. I think it will be fun to watch a man who has very thin skin as a politician to take the scrutiny on a state wide level. He will crumble under the pressure.

What is stuck in my craw is that he is traveling all over the state on the city’s dime to campaign before he even has announced anything. Recent speaking engagements in Yankton, and two in Deadwood and now a ‘Big Sioux River water summit’ in Brookings that doesn’t even have the Big Sioux River running through it.

One of his claims is that Brookings is a good site for the summit because they have a tributary of the Big Sioux running through it, and that people from Watertown would be more likely to attend because Brookings is closer, because you know, everyone uses horse and buggy these days in Northern South Dakota, and while Brookings is only 40 minutes from Sioux Falls in a car, that’s a half-a-day trip in the buggy or stagecoach.

So what do I expect from Huether? At least a partial announcement that he is strongly exploring a run for higher office, and if so, stop using my tax dollars and city resources to quietly campaign across the state. It’s not just unethical, it is against campaign finance laws.

Oh, I forgot who I was talking about, stupid me.

As for cleaning up the Big Poo, I have often suggested partnering with the CORPS to build a filtration dam coming into Sioux Falls. Not only would it help clean the river, it could also act as flood control. Councilor Rolfing made comment about it in a recent council meeting and was told ‘they are too costly’. Well so is spending millions of dollars over a 20 year period (the proposal on the table now) trying to coax cows from not pooping in the river upstream. Lewis & Clark was also expensive, $80 million. Then there is the Events Center, over $100 million, an indoor pool, $24 million and a river greenway, over $10 million so far, in which none of the projects do anything to improve water quality. I say spend the money TODAY on a filtration dam, then proceed with the other cleanup efforts. Because as of right now the plan seems a little ass backwards, you know, like having a water summit about cleaning up the Atlantic ocean in Minneapolis.

$25,000 for Sculpture toothbrush cleaning, and zilch for mosaic wall

I don’t think this was a mistake, I believe with all the Downtown development, they kind of want the wall to go away, but a bad way to go about it;

But the maintenance has been sparse since the last segment of artwork was installed in 2009. And time is taking its toll.

Creators of the mosaic believe vibrations caused by the demolition of the nearby River Ramp in 2012 caused many of the tiles to loosen. Ice melt and other chemicals applied to the adjacent road in winter splashes up on the mosaic and contributes to a leaching that is staining the tiles.

“Having that type of wall next to a busy street with our winters just makes it problematic,” said Sue Quanbeck Etten, director of central services for the city.

But chemical splash isn’t the only issue here. The wall sits along a triangular piece of land that the city believes is prime for redevelopment. It’s trying to gauge private interest now in building on that site. Depending on the interest, the city wants to expand the River Greenway to that side of the Big Sioux much the same as has been done next to Cherapa Place and the Hilton Garden Inn on the east side.

No surprise though, like most things public art wise in Sioux Falls they mis-manage funds to support it, and when they do get it right they fail on maintenance. I think the Statue of David jinx us years ago.

Thanks Raven for your community input!

After taxpayers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the River Greenway project and 6th street for Raven’s benefit, they thank the community by laying off 75 of city resident employees.

Isn’t living in a ‘Right to Work’ state fantastic?

Surprised the State and Sanford aren’t giving them millions to train their workers also.