The Argus Leader reported that Sioux Falls city council members Greg Jamison and Vernon Brown (former mayoral candidate) held a press conference discussing the Event Center proposed by Mayor Mike Huether.
City councilors Greg Jamison and Vernon Brown want voters to know that Nov. 8 is not the last chance for an events center and that voting “no” on that day doesn’t make somebody “anti-Sioux Falls.”
Both are concerned that key information is not being presented fairly to voters and held a news conference Thursday to highlight 10 facts they think people should know before voting on the proposed events center.
Jamison and Brown are both consistent in their positions. Both men voted against building the event center at the arena site. An underlying issue for many people is the cost and how to pay for it. A lot of people I speak with want a new event center but don’t feel it is a necessity, and they are hung up on the potential costs.
Brown said that although construction costs will be $115 million, the city would have to borrow $125 million to cover the issuance of bonds. That would lead to full loan payments of $9 million annually. Jamison said examples of projects that equate to almost $9 million include the 10th Street and Cliff Avenue intersection project, the 41st Street overlay, the reconstruction of 57th Street to Tea Ellis road and the reconstruction of River Boulevard.
“Would you be willing to cut items like these every year for the next 22 years? There’s no free lunch,” Jamison said.
The event center would have significantly more support if Huether was willing to work with the downtown business people. Even though we’ve been discussing the prospect of building a new event center for far too long, too many people feel like this particular project and plan are being rushed through without adequate consideration.
As a possible side note, there is talk about how this proposal’s success or failure will affect Mayor Huether’s reelection prospects and Greg Jamison is one of the 2 or 3 people regularly mentioned as a potential challenger to Huether down the road.