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De Smet To Build Events Center

April 11, 2014, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

De Smet To Build Events Center
DE SMET, SD -

As Sioux Falls works on its new events center, a small South Dakota community is starting one of its own.

City council members in De Smet approved construction of a new events center this week. When combining the cost of the facility with new athletic complexes surrounding it, the total price tag reaches $4.5 million.

"It'll be everyone working together and I think it'll be a great, multi-functional facility," Rita Anderson said.

Contractors are completing dirt work. The new building will stand in De Smet by this time next year. Economic Development director Rita Anderson says it'll include a theatre, wellness center and exhibit hall. It’ll also have locker rooms.

A new football field and track will sit on one side of the building. A baseball field will sit on another side.

"We just didn't have something that fit all of those pegs,” Todd Wilkinson said. “And the community all felt this was something that would be great to put together."

The City and school are paying for part of the project; the community also received a grant. Individual and business donations are covering the bulk of it.

In fact, when bids came in high, the community donated more than $400,000 in 24 hours to get close to the new goal.

"In the council, we even presented it that we were short $15,000. Well, then somebody at the meeting spoke up and said their family would cover that," Anderson said.

The De Smet Development Corporation is still raising money to furnish the events center, Anderson said.

Community leaders know risks come with the project. Wilkinson serves on the steering committee and says the facility could be underutilized and the cost to maintain it could be more than expected.

The committee researched those risks, Anderson says, and is confident the city can afford it. Wilkinson agrees the project is a good choice for the community.

“We've analyzed the positives and negatives and the positives clearly outweigh the negatives,” Wilkinson said.

They want De Smet to be a place for conventions and other events.

"If you're going to compare us to Sioux Falls, we're going to do the little size and we'll let Sioux Falls do the big size," Wilkinson said.

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