My New Hero!
Today’s little rant may surprise my handful of loyal readers. I’m not here to bury anybody this fine day. In fact, I’m here to recognize somebody as the Official Voice of Reason for Sioux Falls.
Before we get to that, however, I must set it up with my usual lack of class. The bozos of the Event Center Task have proven to be exactly what I predicted a few months ago. There was no real attempt to truly study the issue and create an independent recommendation for the city. Future Wal-mart greeter Munson (along with his developer and real estate cronies) obviously gave them the outcome he wanted, and they worked backwards to agree with his desires.
Ok, there’s one small change from Munson’s original dream - instead of being situated in the middle of slow-moving one-way downtown streets, the Event Center is to now be built in the more realistic location of the current Arena. But that’s exactly where common sense ends. Instead of a facility with a reasonable cost and seating capacity, these clowns want us to fund a 15,000 seat, $150 million dollar monstrosity that will someday inevitably be called “Munson’s Folly”.
As I’ve stated from the very beginning, there is absolutely no need for that many seats. None of our minor league sports franchises will ever come close to filling a building that large, and the collapse of the record industry is ensuring that the number of musical acts that could sell those kinds of numbers are dwindling every year. This opinion was actually recently voiced by an expert in the field from Convention Sports Leisure, which thoroughly pissed off the rubber-stamp crowd.
This is why I actually stood up and applauded when I read this past Sunday’s Argus Leader. Sure, I looked a bit silly since I was at Black Sheep Coffee at the time, but I just couldn’t resist. Finally, somebody with a little clout in this city publicly says what needs to be said.
My new hero is Stampede chief executive officer Gary Weckwerth. Sure, he differs with me in that he does want a new facility built. At least he’s realistic about the city’s draw, saying that a 15,000 seat building is “monstrous for this community…I don’t want to see them over-build and have this big animal that sits empty and doesn’t work for the teams that play there”, he told the Argus. “Over the last 50 years, have we really outgrown the Arena that we have? The amenities and quality of it…is gone. But from a simple seat perspective, we have not outgrown the Arena as it sits today. And we never will.” Please, Mr. Weckwerth, run for Mayor.
That same Argus article, however, also for the first time (at least in my recollection) of probably the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard. Task member Dana Dykhouse, First Premier’s CEO, wants a 18,000 seat Fargodome-ish building with high school football as its primary tenant.
I’d really love a bit of whatever this man is smoking. Outside of possibly the Dakota Bowl, there is no high school football game that would come close to making use of 18,000 seats. And can you imagine the sterile atmosphere that would come out of 2,500 Skyforce fans spread out, one person per row, or the 4,000 people who typically show up at the tired classic rock garbage that is generally booked in this town? Yeah, let’s spend $150 million so we can see Journey with their 4th (or is it 5th) lead singer.