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Citizens Talk Events Center At Meeting

October 18, 2011, 9:51 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Citizens Talk Events Center At Meeting
SIOUX FALLS, SD - As the events center vote nears, tempers seem to be flaring. And that was evident at an open meeting held by a Sioux Falls City Council member Tuesday night.

It was the second meeting Greg Jamison put on for his Southwest Sioux Falls voting district and voters came armed. With no time limit, and no procedural guidelines, the only ammunition at the meeting was the words of frustrated voters.

"Before, I would have went in and just checked 'yes.' But now I'm gonna think, 'Okay, this could affect our taxes. How's this gonna affect our city in the long-run?"' resident Amanda Larson said.

Larson came to the meeting because of a road construction issue outside her house. She left with much more than that.

"I came to see what the temperature of the city was on certain issues, especially the events center," resident Chris Rallis said. 

With the election less than a month away, the events center took the center of attention. And the temperature about it was as hot as the tempers in the room. For more than an hour the people talked about the construction, the financing model, and the proposed building's possible affects on the city.

"An informed vote is an important thing, not just to vote emotionally, not just to vote because we have a special interest on an issue, but to vote for the greater good in the community," said Rallis. 

The only opinion missing from residents here was a positive one. Other council members were there too, ready to share the facts in the face of overwhelming opposition.

"They're starting to get upset. They're mad about certain things and we're getting closer to the vote and people are frustrated about some of the details," Jamison said about the crowd. 

"I can see both sides, it being good for the city. I can also see it being careful. It's a risk, but I feel like I'm educated because of tonight; very good information," Larson said.

Jamison held a similar session about six months ago and said this one was a promise to voters that he would do it again once the final details for the proposed building were laid out.

The city does its own presentations about the events center. Those are given by Mayor Mike Huether, who anticipates to have held more than 90 of the information sessions before the November 8th election.

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