In a year, we could know what’s going to happen to three major venues that are losing money and opportunities in Sioux Falls.
On Tuesday, the Events Campus Study Group handed over its final recommendations to Mayor Paul TenHaken. As KELOLAND News has told you, it recommends tearing down the Sioux Falls Arena, adding 60,000 square feet to the Convention Center, and tearing down and relocating the baseball stadium. TenHaken says its still early, but at first glance, he agrees with the recommendations.
If you ever went to a show or Canaries game on the events campus, the nostalgia of the Sioux Falls Arena and Sioux Falls Baseball Stadium likely make you feel like a kid again.
“The arena and the baseball stadium were built in the early ’60s and they’re starting to show their age,” Ryan Pidde, co-chair of the events campus study group, said.
With the final report in Mayor TenHaken’s hand, he says the City is now responsible for coming up with a plan for this campus.
“This project and that campus itself is such a critical part of our city’s DNA, that making sure we get this right is extremely important,” TenHaken said.
Pidde says the group worked with public input through surveys about what to do with the campus.
“Our task was to take the long view and to say what does this campus look like in the 2040. And, so, we really did a deep dive and took a lot of information in and tried to understand what is the best path forward,” Pidde said.
According to the group, the arena and stadium are losing money, and adding more convention space would bring more events and tax dollars to the city. As for the stadium, TenHaken says city leaders will look at putting it in a place where demand for sports is high. He mentioned the growing Sanford Sports Complex as an example of a possibility.
“There are conversations happening, there are different venues being considered in the court of public opinion for baseball in our city. We’ll continue to look at that as an administration, we’re having some of those same conversations as well and look forward to where those lead. But, right now, they’re very much in the early first inning,” TenHaken said.
Now TenHaken and the City Council will review the report and come up with a plan.
“We’re a little ways out before we talk about spending taxpayer dollars on this, but I would say in 2020, there’s going to be a plan moving forward,” TenHaken said.
TenHaken says before the city tears down or relocates anything, it’ll be important to work with tenants of the Arena, for example Southeast Tech holds its graduation there, to make sure there are alternative venues for it. The report also recommends creating a master plan for parking and economic development in that area.