Sioux Falls city leaders are calling it a win for government transparency. The Events Campus Study Group Force is looking at the present and future of major venues and the city’s entertainment tax.
A city council member praised the meeting for being open.
You can trace everything you see on stage or in the field back to what happens behind the scenes. This task force is studying big Sioux Falls venues, and for the first time, City Council member Theresa Stehly says the discussion is open.
“We have great citizens here who are knowledgeable and why not let everybody listen to their questions and hear their answers,“ Stehly said.
Stehly says the Sioux Falls City Council passed a resolution to open this meeting to the public.
“Opening this up allows for fresh air and accountability and transparency, so the public will have a better result at the end,“ Stehly said.
Here’s why. Two areas up for discussion are the futures of the Canaries Stadium and the Sioux Falls Arena. A lot of people have spent a lot of money at both places over the years. However, according to the budget, the Birdcage lost more than $234,000 last year and the Arena lost more than $571,000. A 2018 study that examined Sioux Falls’ venues noted losses. A review of the 2018 Campus Study recommends eventually tearing down the Arena and doubling the size of the Convention Center, as well as building a new baseball stadium.
“We do need more convention center space. We are losing business all the time, because we have a lack of space. Our convention center has served us well, but we’re growing,“ Teri Schmidt, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.
Schmidt hopes eventual decisions now will affect Sioux Falls’ bottom line long into the future.
“We have to get going. It’s a marketing tool. It’s a quality of life thing for Sioux Falls; everybody who lives here. But, most importantly, it’s economic development,“ Schmidt said.
Before the group makes any decisions, Stehly says she wants to keep every step as transparent as possible.
“And at the end of the day, I would support a public vote if they are going to be recommending anything that’s going to be radical,“ Stehly said.