SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — City council members heard an update on planning events center planning, the Sioux Falls Stadium lease and public facilities fees during an informational meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

Shawn Pritchett, Director of Finance for Sioux Falls, gave updates from the event center complex advisory board which is tasked with providing advice and guidance on master planning on the future of the event center complex and surrounding area. The new group is looking to build from a previous group that recommended in 2019 to remove the arena, expand the convention center and eliminate plans for future investment in the baseball stadium.   

Other ideas included: an events center complex master plan, more on-site parking, additional hotel rooms on campus, connectivity to downtown, lend support to downtown convention space, invest in green space, create a new entrance for the convention center and buy adjacent property to the campus when it becomes available. 

On the topic of land acquisition, the city is looking to buy the former Minnehaha County Corrections Center next to Elmwood Golf Course and a Holiday Inn Express across Russell Street from Howard Wood Field. 

Photo from the city of Sioux Falls.

The CCC suffered damage from a fire in 2018. 

The city says the county may agree agree to exchange the property and adjacent former readiness center to the city for the county’s financial responsibility for the Public Safety Answering Point equipment as part of the Public Safety Campus construction project. A new or revised PSAP agreement will need city council approval in November or December. 

Pritchett said the PSAP equipment cost $2.15 million. 

The city is also looking at the 908 building, the former home to Volunteers of America, at the intersection of Madison Street and West Avenue near Covell Park as a “redevelopment opportunity.” 

Starr asked Pritchett if the price of the property would be $2.15 million to the county for the PSAP equipment. Pritchett agreed that would be the deal agreed upon.

Other master planning ideas include long-term approach and vision, leverage opportunities relative to the Sanford Sports Complex and Westport corridor, additional residential density, changes to post-Covid environments. 

In 2023, a market study will be completed to make financial projections, market feasibility of campus and convention center expansion and other recommendations. 

Sioux Falls Stadium lease with Canaries

The lease of Sioux Falls Stadium date back to 1999 through an original 20-year agreement with two additional five-year extensions as a tenant option. 

Pritchett said 2025 would be the second five-year of the current extension.  

The city wants to update the lease agreement to make it less confusing with current agreements, protect city interests when subleased and reflect capital contributions made by the Canaries, owned by True North Sports. The new owners have installed a new video scoreboard, a new turf infield, improved seating, front office improvements, food and concessions brought in house at Sioux Falls Stadium under the new owners. 

The new lease would replace the old lease created in 1999. 

Council member Rich Merkouris commented about the city council looking to discuss a resolution or find a way to announce intentions with the future of the baseball stadium.  

The new lease would have a provision that would allow for the termination of the lease if a new stadium was built for the Canaries.

Pritchett said the Sioux Falls Sports Authority has brought more than $50 million in economic impact to Sioux Falls and it has helped promote Sioux Falls on a national stage. He said part of the public facility ordinance helps fund the Sioux Falls Sports Authority. 

Council member Greg Neitzert said he was deeply skeptical about development at the events center campus. He said surface parking should be eliminated in the area or a parking ramp should be explored.  Pritchett said a parking fee would be hard to implement because of staffing.

“It’s got to be visionary and big,” Neitzert said. “There’s just no development out there.”

Starr said the Sioux Falls Sports Authority should receive a solid number for funding through the budget process and not be dependent upon public facility ticket fees.  

Council member Alex Jensen said the proper vision hasn’t been created for the events center campus and development has just been forced on the area in the past. Pritchett said economic impact follows people. He said businesses can’t exist solely on events.