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‘Build It Downtown' Questions Economic Study

May 3, 2011, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

‘Build It Downtown' Questions Economic Study
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Last year, "Build it Downtown" supporters said they wanted to see a side-by-side economic comparison between a possible Events Center near the Arena and one downtown.

"If that economic impact study shows that the Arena is the best site for our city, I'll be the first one to step up and say, 'I support the mayor's plan,'" Brendan Reilly said on October 15, 2010.

Now, that study is in and supports an Events Center to be built near the Arena over downtown.

"There are major assumption made in these reports and we want facts. We can't get behind anything, whether it's downtown or at the Arena, we can't support something that doesn't have facts behind it," Andy Traub said.

Downtown supporters are questioning the number of events assumed each location would have in 2016. In that, the report says there would be 34 convention-type events at the Arena location with an average attendance of 3,500. On the other side, there'd be just seven at a downtown location. The source used to determine that is the two companies that currently manage the Arena and Convention Center.

"There's a four to one ratio and they can name zero. They will not tell us anyone who has said they're coming to Sioux Falls in the next few years," Traub said.

From here, "Build It Downtown" supporters say they're putting their trust in the Sioux Falls City Council. They hope the council members will seek some answers.

"We are leaning on the city council to dig in and get answers where we can't get answers," Traub said. 

Traub says it’s still possible to rally downtown supporters like himself to support an Arena area Events Center. They're just not sold quite yet.

"I want to get behind the best location. But we need facts not assumptions and this just has a lot of assumptions on it," Traub said.

Downtown supporters say their site is gaining momentum because people want to prevent McCart fields from becoming an Events Center parking lot. Traub says that if the baseball fields do not become a parking lot, something would need to be built adding to the cost of the Arena-Convention Center Site. That cost was not factored into the study.

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