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October 06, 2010 05:52 PM

Neighborhood Split On Parking Lot Buyout Plan

Sioux Falls, SD


If an events center becomes a reality in Sioux Falls, no matter the location, parking could be an issue. And if it's built near the current Arena, one parking option is getting the attention of those who live nearby.

One option for the city would be to replace homes just west of the current Arena with a parking lot. But those who live there are split on that idea.

The buzz of Sioux Falls this week is the mayor's proposal for a new events center near the current Arena/Convention Center.  If approved, a quiet neighborhood could get swept up into the plans.

"They're really nice neighbors; they look after each other. Everyone kind of keeps an eye on the other one," JoAnn Morrison said.

The city revealed Monday, if needed, the city could buy 30 homes in this area to create a new parking lot. The city estimates it would spend $3.75 million to do that, or $125,000 per home.

"The price would have to be right, and I don't think that comes near it," Morrison said.

Morrison has lived in her home for ten years and says she simply couldn't sell for $125,000.

"I had remodeling done, just one wall removed and it cost me $3,000.  It just isn't worth it for the amount of money that you've placed in a house that you've been living in," Morrison said.

But just across the street, you'll find a different opinion and at least one family that would sell.

"I think we would just because this is our starter home. For us, it would be something where we could get something bigger, so it would be kind of a good step for us," Sunny LeGree said. 

However, those who say they would sell their home and those who say they would not sell to the city both agree that if the city would want to come in here and buy 30 different properties, it would be a very tough task.

"I think too many people don't like the idea, so I don't think it would go through," LeGree said.

"And there's a lot of things that you have in a house that you can't take with you that's just gone once the house is gone," Morrison said.

When talking to the city council this week about this idea, Mike Cooper of the city planning office did warn the council that obtaining all those homes could take several years.
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