Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mile 17

The mayor gave his public monthly event center update (44.05) to the City Council on Monday, May 16th. He has equated the event center journey to a marathon. He equates his personal struggle at mile 17 of his marathon to his mayoral marathon called the event center.

I expected to hear more than the usual platitudes and pep rally we got from his introduction. The only meat at this update was from the public works director who is proceeding with the arena site as the chosen site as if it is a done deal. Even though the city council has yet to decide on a location choice, the administration is moving forward with developing the schematic design and linking it to the convention center. They are continuing the site development work at the arena site relating to access roads, utilities, and parking alternatives. They will develop the initial construction model for the construction manager at risk. 

We heard the mayor say he needs the city council's help to get this thing done. He said he needs the help of Sioux Falls. He is going to ask the city business leaders for help and he listed various organizations that he is going to reach out for help. I submit to you that maybe he should have reached out to the city council and the business organizations before he began his marathon instead of reaching out at mile 17 of his journey.

He listed a number of downtown visions/goals and said these goals should be done downtown in conjunction with the building of the event center. He outlined the following goals for downtown:
  • Strong commercial development
  • Remove railroad switching yard
  • Tear down the river ramp
  • New hotels with convention center facilities, bars, restaurants
  • River Greenway to the South
  • Uptown at the Falls
  • Repair/rebuild/replace roads and water lines
  • New investment incentives from Community Development
  • Trolley bus transportation from the Arena/Convention Center
  • Reap rewards of a new Event Center
I don't know about you but these goals look like the goals associated with the building of an event center at Cherapa.  It's not about downtown reaping rewards separately from the Event Center. It's about what is good for all of Sioux Falls, not just downtown. His motives for listing these visions/goals for downtown is so transparent it is almost laughable. He wouldn't have to go to this length to placate the business community and/or the BID group advocating for the Cherapa site if the Arena/Convention Center site made any economic sense at all.

The mayor said, "My goal is to bring forth as much information as I can to the city council so they can make a prudent and responsible decision." Yet, he continues to march forward with his Arena site plan. I wonder how the City Council feels about that double talk. When he talks about getting the city council's help, what he really wants is for them to get on their running shoes and run the rest of the marathon with him to the Arena Convention Center site.

He is already at mile 17 and he is now asking for their help? Asking for their help and the help of the business community should have been a preliminary heat before the actual race got started. This whole thing is so backwards.  No wonder everyone is so darn crabby and heated up. I believe a city this size should have an event center. I just wish our leader knew how to run a race from beginning to end instead of trying to figure it out at mile 17.


  1. Rumor is that he has five votes on the Council to go ahead at the Arena Site. Also, no where near enough votes to pass at a citizen vote.

  2. If the money and development really come from the convention space. Why don't we build a new Convention Center only Downtown. Leave what is at the Arena there for now. Then build the Event Center when the economy improves.

  3. The Mayor certainly enjoys the sports-themed metaphors, although you can tell he puts about as much thought into them as he does when he picks things like a 50 year site decision. One of his last ones was about the Butler Bulldogs and how they prepared for the Final Four by not focusing or thinking about it too much.

    Perhaps they should've put some more thought into the game considering they lost 53 to 41.

  4. I agree the council will pass it his way and we've learned from his firings, hirings & other actions that it's his way or the highway. Our only hope is that the "Good Citizens of Sioux Falls" vote it down with a huge majority that makes him so humilated that he doesn't run for another term. Then we can move forward with someone who will listen and integrate the will of the citizens.

  5. Rumor is that he has five votes on the Council to go ahead at the Arena Site. Also, no where near enough votes to pass at a citizen vote.

    The rumor I hear is the DT site has five city council votes. I doubt Jamison would be as brazen as he was in todays Argus unless he felt he had those five votes. Rumor has it the good mayor will overrule those five votes as he does have that power. Then it would take six city council votes to overturn the mayor. Oh what a tangled web we weave. And the more tangled it gets, the less likely this whole project is likely to pass the voter smell test.

    Jennifer. Can the mayor get around a public vote that asks the question...do we even want an EC? I believe you addressed that the other day. Too lazy to look back. :)


  6. Would agree with Polly on this one. I'm thinking Jamison, Brown and Erpenbach are all DT people, with Anderson and Aguliar leaning that way. Karsky is a Gerald Beninga fence sitter and Entenman and Rolfing are clearly Huether boys.

  7. Ooh, you all have heard more good stuff than I have. Five votes for Downtown really put the Mayor in a Interesting Spot. Downtown can't get Six, but Arena might not be able to get five?

  8. The Mayor doesn't dare Veto the Council's vote, if they go with downtown. Not unless he is trying to kill the project altogether.

    I got a good laugh from his "appeal" on Monday that we all come together. Please, someone, name one thing he's compromised on since his original presentation last fall which had the EC in the exact same spot he advocates today?!?