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October 04, 2010 09:53 PM

Group Still Wants Events Center Downtown

sioux falls, sd


Monday's events center presentation was well attended by those who are carefully listening to the mayor's plan.
That includes those who support an online movement to put a new events center in downtown Sioux Falls. They aren't ready to buy into the mayor's plan just yet.

An events center is a Sioux Falls hot topic year after year. Now, Mayor Mike Huether has shared his vision for a new facility. But its location continues to be a key part of the debate. Those who have supported building it downtown before still say it's the place to be, contrary to Huether's suggestion.

"It just doesn't seem to be going with where the rest of the United States has been going the last 20 years and that is putting these type of facilities downtown," Steve Williamson said.

Williamson is a member of the Sioux Falls Downtown Events Center Group. He listened as the mayor talked about possible economic development if the new facility is near the current Arena, but he disagrees.

"Those facilities have been there for 40 years and very little has happened. I mean everything across Russell Street has basically gone downhill," Williamson said.

Williamson says more economic development would happen if the events center is placed downtown. He admits that parking and traffic issues are the biggest worries, but doesn't think those fears are legitimate.

"It really doesn't happen that way. It's scare tactics if anything," Williamson said.

And that's why he and others will continue to push for a new events center, as long as it's downtown.

"We want to be more than a warm Fargo. We want to be more than Omaha, which has their facilities downtown. We want to be like a St. Paul/Minneapolis; their facilities are downtown there and that's where it should be here," Williamson said.

The Facebook group for the downtown events center has doubled in support in the last two weeks; there are now more than 1,300 members.
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