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Build It Now Brings In Big Contributions

October 6, 2011, 6:00 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Build It Now Brings In Big Contributions
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Some of Sioux Falls biggest businesses are throwing their support behind the proposed events center.

The latest campaign finance report shows that the Build It Now campaign, which is pushing for voters to approve the facility, has more than $145,000 in the bank right now.

A vote on the proposed facility is less than a month away and supporters of the project have the resources to make a big-time campaign push.

"It allows us to do what we're charged with doing and that's to educate the public on the benefits of a new events center here in Sioux Falls," Mike Sullivan with Build It Now said.

According to the latest campaign finance report, Build It Now has received more than $153,000 just in the last month. Sanford Health and First Premier Bank have donated a combined $100,000 of that total.

The President of the Sanford USD Medical Center says they're giving support because it helps in recruiting employees.

"As we're competitive for professionals and for staff people, it's getting important that they have those elements right here in town, and don't have to travel, and can have the entertainment and sports venues they want," Sanford USD Medical Center President Dr. Pat O'Brien said.

First National Bank has also given $20,000 in support of a 'yes' vote on the events center.

Other donors include Global Spectrum, which is the company that manages the current Sioux Falls Convention Center. They've contributed $5,000 to the cause.

The Ramada Hotel, which sits right across the street from the Convention Center and the proposed site for the events center, has given $2,500.

"This is not a need for the city of Sioux Falls right now; it's a want," Bob Barclay with the Citizen's Network Against the Events Center said.

On the other side of the issue, the head of the newly formed Citizen's Network Against the Events Center says they are going to focus on a grassroots campaign versus a big money campaign.

"I guess I take a little bit of an offense that the mayor is saying his is a grassroots campaign because they have big donors and big money involved. Whereas sitting here today, we have zero money. But I think there will be some people that will support this effort in the coming days," Barclay said.

And with both campaigns gearing up, Sioux Falls voters will be hearing a lot more from both sides in the coming days.

The next campaign finance reports are due on November 3, less than a week before Election Day.

The Citizen's Network Against the Events Center just launched their campaign Wednesday and say they will hold an organizational meeting for anyone who wants to get involved in their effort on Thursday, October 13, at the Downtown Library.

The mayor will give the latest update on the project to the city council on Tuesday October 11.

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