Saturday, June 11, 2011

Is Now the Time to Build an EC in an Area that is Economically Challenged?

I just finished reading an article in June 20, 2011 issue of Time Magazine called "Don't Hold Your Breath." It listed the five most destructive myths about what is happening to the economy and how it will or won't recover. The myths are:
  • This is a temporary blip, and then it's full steam ahead.
  • We can buy our way out of all this.
  • The private sector will make it all better.
  • We'll pack up and move for new jobs.
  • Entrepreneurs are the foundation of the economy.
I am a supporter of an Event Center but I just don't know how one can support the mayor's vision to build an event center in an area of town that will provide no real or concrete economic future for the taxpayers of this city.

Guesstimates by his consultants are pie in the sky promises. A press release by Global Spectrum that there is "interest" by Pheasants Forever in coming to Sioux Falls if we just build it is a just that - an interest, not a promise, not a commitment. Another pie in the sky comment to flim flam the taxpayer into believing that if we build it in an area that offers nothing, they will come. The taxpayers believed the city when their consultants said it 20 years ago when the Convention Center was built and the taxpayers are still waiting.

To saddle the taxpayers with the debt of building an event center in a location that even the mayor's AECOM consultant's report showed a huge difference between economic development at the Arena site versus the Cherapa site is questionable right now. If we are going to saddle the taxpayer with new debt, shouldn't we build it in a place that has the most potential for creating economic development, thereby creating more money to take care of the city's infrastructure needs?

The mayor wants the private sector to put up a large amount of cash to fund his folly location. Well, private sector companies aren't spending  their money on such things outside their own operations. As the article states, they aren't even spending it on their own workers.

I could support a city council who votes to build an event center at the Cherapa site where the economic development potential was identified as over $50 million. I cannot support a city council vote to build an event center at the Arena site where the economic development potential was identified as $6 million.

Let's hope the city council has the wisdom to do what is right for the taxpayers of this city and not to continue to push an agenda that this local economy cannot support for decades to come.


  1. The myths are:

    This is a temporary blip, and then it's full steam ahead.
    We can buy our way out of all this.
    The private sector will make it all better.
    We'll pack up and move for new jobs.
    Entrepreneurs are the foundation of the economy.

    In view of the five myths listed, which by the way, I strongly agree with, the title of this blog entry should be:

    Is Now the Time to Build an EC?

    Polly Amalo

  2. Just because Sioux Falls may not be facing the toughest economic challenges facing other areas of this country doesn't mean there are not problems here. Ask the realtors in this city if the housing market has recovered. When this comes for a vote, I will be voting a resounding no. My no is especially for the very reasons stated here....economic spinoff at the Cherapa Place of $50 million vs $6 million at the arena site makes this a no brainer decision. Rolfing and Entenman are at-large Councilors and I will remember their vote on this issue at next election.

  3. I watched channel 16's May 21st listening and learning session recently. All I can say is if honest mike had long golden curls, he'd have been Custer. I remember a movie from my military days called "Little Big Man." The character who played Custer reminds me a lot of our current mayor. At any rate, IF, and that's a really big IF, we actually needed a bigger EC, I would, ALL things considered both good and bad, be for the DT site. How could one not be? It baffles me where this guy is coming from.

    Oh...and I also watch ALL the "Ask The Mayor" programs. Jennifer, I'd love to be a mouse in the corner at your family get-togethers. Reid could not possibly set a softball on a T-ball stand better than he does for our mayor.

    Polly Amalo

  4. I am starting to agree with what Polly said above - is now really the time?? I would love to see a new EC, but only if it will produce solid ROI. By any standard, the Arena location hasn't produced diddly in regards to sustainable development in 50 years. We don't have the hotel rooms to host these promised large events mentioned in the AECOM study (and nobody is eager to build them - the rooms we have aren't being filled). Private enterprise isn't rushing to put up any money towards the $100 million (most likely much more) price tag. There are streets in town (ex - 18th and 37th) that one needs a Sherpa guide to get through the potholes. And as last summer showed, our storm sewer infrastructure is going to have to be dealt with.

    If our Lord Mayor really wants a monument to himself, something for next year's SculptureWalk will cost us so much less than a White Elephant at Russell and West.

  5. Pheasants Forever brings in 20,000 people. Where are they going to stay? Tents in the CC parking lot? We still have NO promises from private industry that they will 1) donate money to building a new EC 2) Develop businesses such as new hotels and restaurants around the current Arena site. It baffles me that we haven't had ONE SINGLE private donor come forth yet we are full steam ahead on this. We would be crazy as voters to approve a new EC without the capital of private industry in SF.