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August 08, 2011 10:27 PM

SF Events Center Will Go To Public Vote

Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls voters will have the final say on a project they've been hearing about for years.

A new events center will go to a public vote later this year. The Sioux Falls City Council approved an ordinance Monday night allowing for a special election this November.

The $115 million proposal has been debated ad nauseum, but now there's only one question to answer -- yes or no?  And while the city council did approve sending the decision to a public vote, not all members went in on solid footing.  The council decided to bring the issue to the people thanks to a 7-1 vote.

"I have heard loud and clear from my constituents that they want to have the opportunity to vote, so I will be voting in favor of this motion," council member Sue Aguilar said.

But not everyone was thrilled with the idea. Some believe voters must now give themselves a crash course on all the specifics regarding the proposal.

"I am not happy that we're going to do the election in November," council member Michelle Erpenbach said. "I know that I don't have the votes supporting me and so, I will vote to put it on the ballot in November. But, I want you to understand, in that short three months, we have to challenge ourselves as voters."

Council member Vernon Brown was the lone council member who dissented, saying the timing simply wasn't right.

"You are close, Mr. Mayor,"  Brown said. "Let's have patience. Let's do it right. I can't support sending it to a vote this November."

But in the end, Brown's objections weren't enough to sway other members, who believe no matter what their personal opinions are, the public's is what matters most.

"They want us to know how they feel," council member Greg Jamison said. "I think tonight is our chance to finally correct and put the horse in front of the cart."

If a majority approves a new facility on November 8, construction would begin next year for a Fall 2014 opening.

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