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Group Asks For Events Center Economic Comparison

October 15, 2010, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Group Asks For Events Center Economic Comparison
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The City of Sioux Falls has released more details and deadlines as the mayor moves forward with plans that could eventually lead to a new events center near the current arena. But a group that opposes that location is also speaking out.

The group known as "build it downtown" sent a letter Friday to the mayor and each member of the city council. In it they note that they've spoken with Mayor Mike Huether and he agrees to have an economic impact study conducted, comparing the financial benefits of an arena location to a downtown location. But the group and mayor Huether appear to disagree on when to do the study.

It's a debate as old as the idea of building a new events center in Sioux Falls, to build near the current arena, or at a new location in downtown. Now a group wanting the downtown location says they're ready to end the debate once and for all by performing a study to find which location would give the city the best return on its money.

"We hope that it's done early in the process, that being now or soon before you start the site prep and everything else, if we get this analysis done it won't hold up any of the process. Then we'll know, the Mayor will know and the voting public will know what's the best place for this events center," Brendan Reilly said.

Brendan Reilly is part of "Build It Downtown." He says the group doesn't want to be thought of as an anti-events center crowd. Rather, they want the study conducted to give everyone an idea of what an events center can do for the city.

"We think the best way to get that done is to give the public information that will show that even if you never show up at an event, you're going to benefit from having an events center in Sioux Falls," Reilly said.

Reilly says he believes an economic study will prove that downtown is indeed the better choice, but if that doesn't happen, he and the entire downtown group will still be for building a new facility.

“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," Reilly said.

But first, the downtown group says they need to see the facts, comparing the two sites side by side.

The letter to city leaders also lists three separate companies that could perform the economic study, and estimates the cost between $35,000 and $55,000.

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