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September 09, 2010 05:52 PM

Task Force Watching New Events Center Plans

Sioux Falls, SD


Last November, a task force concluded it’s nearly two years of work in Sioux Falls when it submitted its final recommendations for an events center.  And those who helped create a vision for a new center hope that work doesn't disappear.

When the Sioux Falls Events Center Task Force concluded their work last November, they suggested a new events center be built near the current Sioux Falls Arena because that building is showing its age.

"Fifty years of a facility probably is close to the max in terms of quality use of it. That doesn't mean it's going to fall apart, and this arena hasn't fallen apart," Noel Olson said.

That's why the task force recommended that the current Arena stay in place. That way, it can be used for smaller events and trade shows. Mayor Mike Huether's plan is similar. In fact, both call for a new 12,000 seat facility.

"It is an important number; to us that was the minimum, and we wanted the shell of the building to be built so it would accommodate at least 15,000," Olson said.

Olson, a former coach and commissioner for the North Central Conference, says no matter who comes up with the plan, the most difficult part of a new events center will be funding the construction. The former task force thought it had the solution when it proposed an extra penny of sales tax, but that was squashed by state lawmakers.

Now, Olson and others who were on the task force say they'll pay close attention as new plans are laid out.

"I thought it was well done. So we are watching carefully because we hope our work is not wasted after almost two years," Olson said.

The task force recommended changes to the current convention center as well. The total estimated price tag on their place was between $137 million and $169 million.

Mayor Huether says the cost for his plan comes out to just under $100 million.
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