DTSF Inc. President says downtown baseball stadium would face hurdles

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Since January, the Events Campus study group has been trying to figure out the 2040 vision for the Premier Center, Arena, Convention Center and baseball stadium. The group recommends tearing down the arena, adding 60,000 square feet for convention center space, and demolishing the baseball stadium. The final recommendation will be brought to the mayor before the end of August.

That begs the question, if the city tears down the birdcage, where will it go? It’s not the first time taxpayers have brought up this conversation. A previous proposal has been Downtown Sioux Falls.

Downtown keeps snagging major quality of life developments. That’s something Paulette Daggett enjoys about the place she’s called home for 50 years.

“It’s growing,” Daggett said.

That’s why we asked Downtown Sioux Falls Inc president Joe Batcheller if the area could ever be a possible location for a new Canaries Stadium.

“I think it could be. It’s going to take the right partners to come together. Downtown is naturally a more challenging environment to develop in,” Batcheller said.

Batcheller says people have circulated the idea of building a stadium there in the past. However, he says space is an issue. He estimates it would take 500 feet by 500 feet to accommodate a stadium.

“And most city blocks aren’t that long. So, it would have to be multiple city blocks,” Batcheller said.

Though areas like the downtown rail yard and part of the Sioux Steel site may seem like prime spots, Batcheller says they may be too small.

“There might be some creative designs to make those sites work. However, with Sioux Steel, that is led by a private developer, so they’re going to determine what that site ultimately looks like,” Batcheller said.

Right now, these are just hypothetical ideas and Batcheller says it’s way too early for DTSF to advocate one way or the other. However, he says Downtown would welcome a stadium if it’s feasible and if that’s what the city and taxpayers want.

“There are going to be some hurdles to overcome if downtown is chosen. Doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome, but there are certainly some easier sites where you might not have to take a building down to create a baseball stadium. We would certainly welcome it, though,” Batcheller said.

Batcheller says the stadium would be a good get for downtown, and help with “cross pollination,” or bringing more people to other business, bars, restaurants and venues. However, it’s important to note, at this point, the study group has not recommended where to put a new baseball stadium.

As for Daggett, she has a different opinion about where to put the stadium.

“I think it’s ok right where it’s at. I don’t want it downtown. Downtown is not about sports. I like it where it is,” Daggett said.

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