The Sioux Falls City Council voted Tuesday night to add $1.5 million in construction funding to a controversial downtown parking ramp.
Originally it was supposed to be a multi-million-dollar multi-use facility. With hotel rooms, event center space, restaurants and a parking ramp, Village on The River was pegged to transform the downtown Sioux Falls skyline. When the public-private partnership fell through, the city was left with a parking ramp in need of additional funding to complete.
The vote Monday night on that funding passed six to one; councilor Theresa Stehly was the only councilor in attendance to not support it. Councilor Curt Soehl was not there, hence only the seven votes. Stehly said $500,000 did not belong in the $1.5 million request.
“As I said before, we have a murky situation, and the citizens I’m afraid are going to get the short end of the stick on this thing,” Stehly said. “So I’m going to make a motion to amend this to one million dollars.”
That, however, did not receive support.
“Alright, that fails for lack of a second,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said following a pause after Stehly’s motion.
Councilor Pat Starr did vote in support of the resolution. He made clear, however, that he wasn’t thrilled about this.
“But I don’t know how we can responsibly not protect a $20 million asset that we’ve already built,” Starr said. “We have to put the million and a half into it, and there just is, as one of the other councilors said last week, we’re going to have to, I’m going to hold my nose when I vote, and I’m going to hold my nose the next time we’re going to, ’cause we’re going to be here asking for another supplement whether it’s to legal or other things as we move forward.”
Councilor Janet Brekke also voted “yes” and pledged to have an attention to detail on this topic.
“I am going to micromanage this issue,” Brekke said. “I want to leave it with clean hands as well. I want to know that I really did my due diligence, that I protected the public’s interest as best I could.”