SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Sioux Falls officials are defending the reports showing an events center should be built near the arena and convention center site.
Tuesday, members of Build It Downtown told KELOLAND News they believed the reports were biased.
Members of the group who want a downtown events center believe that the city manipulated the number of parking spots to show that the arena and convention center site had more spaces.
"One of the things not being acknowledged is parking. There's funding to replace the River Ramp downtown. Not only was the River Ramp not included in the parking study, but the replacement ramp wasn't included either," Mark Millage with Build It Downtown said Tuesay.
Darrin Smith the Director of Public Parking says the city didn't include the River Ramp in the study because they believe it will be torn down by the time a new events center is built, but they did include the spots in a parking ramp being built nearby at the new CNA Surety building site.
"CNA has a $25 million private building project taking place right now with almost an identical number of parking spaces in their private ramp. We included those in the study," Smith said.
Smith says there is also no truth to the city holding back information on parking. He says they gave the consultants the parking inventory numbers and even a full parking report that was done back in 2007. Smith says they didn't manipulate the numbers.
"Frankly, the parking is not rocket science. It's pretty straight forward. You have X number of ramps, X number of surface lots, X number of spaces in those ramps and on those surface lots," Smith said.
And while Smith knows this events center will continue to be debated publicly for the next several months, he's hoping that the public focuses on the facts as they discussion moves forward.
"There's always going to be questions, I understand that. I think everyone is entitled to their personal opinion. We just have to make sure as a community that we have those discussions and debates that are based in fact and not a distortion of the truth," Smith said.
Monday night the mayor plans to tell the city council where he thinks the events center should go and how the city will pay for it.
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