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November 18, 2010 09:46 PM

Locating An Events Center Site


The latest in the ongoing Events Center debate has centered on a location. And the group that's pursuing a downtown events center is taking exception to a comment Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether made on KELOLAND News this past weekend.

During a recent interview with KELOLAND News, Huether made this comment about choosing a location for a future Events Center:

"The important thing isn't so much the location, the important thing is getting it built. That is what's going to drive your economic development dollars," Huether said.

Brendan Reilly with the group Build it Downtown agrees with half of the Mayor's statement.

"The Mayor is saying we just want to get it built and I agree, we need an events center, but I would rather build it properly in the right location so we don't have a 50 to 60 year mistake" Reilly said.

That was just one of the concerns listed in this letter that the downtown group sent the Mayor this week. They feel location should be near the top of the list when talking about building a new arena or convention center.

According to the downtown group and the letter sent to the Mayor, the city should have learned its lesson 15 years ago when they decided to build the Convention Center out here at the Arena site instead of downtown.

"We need to have a place where we can showplace our city and right now the Arena location is not showcasing what Sioux Falls is all about," Reilly said.

And the best way to do that is to build it downtown.

"We need some hard numbers to support what kind of economic development and commercial development is going to happen at the Arena site, and, you know, we're just not seeing it," Reilly said.

But would like to see a building-boom in downtown Sioux Falls, beginning with what would be the city's largest and most expensive investment in history. The Build it Downtown Group is also gaining some momentum.  What started out as a Facebook page, now has over 2,000 supporters.

We did contact the Mayor's office to see if he had any comment on the group's letter.  He says it's the same message on a different day, but he appreciates the feedback and the process is moving forward.

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