SIOUX FALLS, SD -
A proposed Sioux Falls Events Center still needs to clear many hurdles before ground is broken. And there's a major debate over where to build it.
By the end of the month, architects and construction engineers hope to have selected a downtown location to compare to the proposed arena site.
Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether prefers to build a new Events Center near the current Sioux Falls Arena. But the "Build It Downtown" group argues putting it in the heart of the city will generate more revenue. Wednesday, they offered four possible locations: the current downtown post office, just north of Cherapa place, at the current Sioux Steel location and along Minnesota Avenue between 6th and 8th streets.
The group says each location has its own features making it a suitable choice for a $100 million investment.
The tour began at the current downtown post office. Steve Hildebrand says the location would spur economic development, since work is already underway to spruce up the greenway along the Big Sioux River.
"What we need to do is bring people to the river or these businesses aren't going to develop there. They're just not; it's too speculative," Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand says the location would allow retail space to be built into the Events Center and it would make good use of neighboring Fawick Park.
The second location is along the river where greenway work is already underway. Just north of Cherapa Place, Hildebrand says the land is likely available since the owner supports a downtown events center. Plus, he says traffic and parking wouldn't be an issue.
"There's actually more parking spots within four blocks of this location, what's considered a walking distance for events than there is at the Arena. 600 more parking spots within this area is what the 2005 study showed," Hildebrand said.
The current Sioux Steel location was the third stop. Hildebrand says the land will likely be available sometime in the next two years and building here could also work well with the Phillips to the Falls development, leading visitors to the city's namesake.
"It's some of the most prime property in the entire city. It's coveted. I don't want to say it’s sacred but it's close to sacred. It's right at the top of the headwaters of the Falls," Hildebrand said.
The final proposed location is the only one not directly on the river. Instead, this area is on mostly city and county-owned land along a busy street.
"Along Minnesota Avenue, the Events Center would have an incredible amount of exposure, which I think the city, I think that's important for the city when we're going to spend that kind of money to build it. We really want people to see it, to utilize it," Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand says all of the locations will bring people to the center of the city and lead them to spend more money, which he says is the goal of making the investment to build an Events Center.
Something else Hildebrand says needs consideration is the ongoing railroad relocation project. When that's finished, it will open up 16 acres of land for downtown development, which he calls an unprecedented opportunity.
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