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October 04, 2010 05:54 PM

Huether: Events Center Should Be Near Arena

sioux falls, sd

We now know the size, location and how Mayor Mike Huether plans to pay for an events center in the Sioux Falls.

Though divided, the city council gave him the green light to spend half a million dollars to study the venue. Now he's laid out his vision, hoping to convince people the investment will be well worth it.

The big news coming out of Monday's presentation is that the mayor thinks attaching a new events center to the existing Arena and Convention Center is the best option. As we already know, there is a group that wants the new events center downtown. But Monday, the Mayor said the Arena site is the best option and the most popular with the public.

Huether walked up to the podium to talk about what kind of events center he'd like to see built during the next four years. But one of the first things he said is that before the plan is finalized, Sioux Falls voters will have a chance to sign off on the proposal.

"I, ultimately, am not going to decide this, and the city council, you're not going to decide it either. The people of Sioux Falls will ultimately have the opportunity to decide whether they want an events center built for this great town," Huether said.

Huether wants a 12,000 seat events center so the site can host NCAA Division I basketball tournaments. And he wants to build it at the existing Arena and Convention Center site.

"We want to attach it to the existing facility that's out there today. Why? You capitalize on the existing infrastructure. It generates an increased flat floor space for conventions," Huether said.

So how does Huether propose paying for the facility?

"Folks, this needs to be a public and private partnership in order for it to be successful," Huether said.

He would like to use $15 million in cash reserves from the city, $15 million to $25 million from private partnerships and bond the remaining $60 million to $70 million.

But Huether says his nearly $100 million plan is just preliminary and could change in the weeks and months to come.

"The plan is not complete. The pie is not baked. In fact, not all the ingredients are ready for the pie. However, I think we need to have an understanding of what this vision is," Huether said.

The mayor plans to keep the public updated on the progress of moving forward on a monthly basis and would like to hold a public vote on the plan in November 2011 or April 2012.

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