Sioux Falls is approaching a very important vote on November 8th, 2011 that will be critical for our city’s economic growth. On this day there will be a vote to decide if we are going to be building a new event center to expand with our growing city. At this point if a very large venue comes through the area we are bypassed to Sioux City, Omaha, Fargo or Minneapolis. I for one am tired of driving to these shows all the way out of town!
The details of the plan are to build a multi-purpose building on the grounds of the old Sioux Falls Arena/Convention Center. These two structures would not be demolished but would be connected to the new building. This would bring our seat total up to 12,000 and down the road as the city grows there would be room to expand. The plan also utilizes all of the old infrastructure that is already in place at the site. The proposed cost of the project is estimated at $115 million. This new room would include space for large or small events. It includes many concession and lounge areas, private box suites, handicap assessable seating and expands the number of restrooms as well.
Financing for the project is not coming from added taxes either. This project will be paid for with the sale of bonds. The bonds will then be paid with revenue from the existing 2nd penny sales tax. This bonding approach has also been used to pay for many other city improvements over the years. With the cost of borrowing being very low this is just another reason that now is the time to build. It is being emphasized that no existing projects are being cut to accommodate building the Event Center.
With an estimated operating income of $1.1 million to 2.5 million in addition to naming rights, sponsorship and advertising revenues there will be no need for additional general tax dollars for operating expenses. In addition it is important to take into consideration Sioux Falls’ strong financial background. Sioux Falls has a long-term track record of sales tax revenue growth. Our per capita debt is low in comparison to other similar cities and we have no general obligation debt either.
What I think is also very important to realize is the large amount of dollars this project will bring into our community. Where we once left to go to concerts in other places we won’t have to now. The people in the places we went will be coming here and spending their money here. Restaurants, hotels, shopping centers and convenience stores will all benefit from this project. The Sioux Falls Event Center is a step in the right direction. I step towards positive growth.