Sioux Falls, SD
Plans for a Sioux Falls events center are already in the works, but now a city council member is throwing a new idea into the mix.
Council member Greg Jamison says one of his goals for this year is to research the possibility of building a new convention center downtown and turning the existing facility into a recreation center with pools, hockey rinks and tennis courts.
Jamison says he's not proposing that this plan replace the current plans for the events center, but he says with the growing needs of youth sports in Sioux Falls and the benefits of having big conventions downtown it's an idea he hopes the city can look at this year.
The current Sioux Falls Convention Center has more than 50,000 square feet of floor space for large conventions and events.
"Then we work on re-developing the existing convention center into a great rec center and collaborating with all these youth sport teams like hockey, tennis, swimming, figure skating," Jamison said.
It's an idea Jamison is floating out there for the city council to think about. Jamison's plan would not only re-develop the current convention center into a rec center, but it calls for building a new convention center downtown, and a major renovation of the Sioux Falls Arena.
"This is completely separate of the events center. The events center can come and go and the city of Sioux Falls can vote and do whatever they think is best for an events center, I'm okay with that. This idea has been talked about for years, even while I was campaigning to run for the office we talked about this," Jamison said.
"I agree with Greg, we are short a lot of those facilities in our city. There's no doubt about it. However, the previous two task forces have identified a need for an events center too," city council member Jim Entenman said.
Entenman is a member of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority Board and has also served on the events center task force. While he knows there's a need to build more facilities for sports teams he says right now the city needs to focus on its current project.
"I think we do need to assess what the needs are at all the different organizations, and I think it's good dialogue, but I believe right now we need to concentrate on the events center and we need to go ahead and try to get it built," Entenman said.
Jamison says he's not trying to kill the events center but he's trying to bring forward a new idea for the council to consider.
"There's no group here, there's no effort, there's no strategy to any of this. It's just an idea," Jamison said.
Jamison says the fact that the Arena hosted the Carrie Underwood concert last month proves the facility can still draw in big shows. But, he says it does need to be renovated which would be part of the plan that he envisions.
Mayor Mike Huether says the city needs to stay focused on an events center. Huether told KELOLAND News, "Effective leadership will keep us focused on the goal at hand, and that's building a new events center."