The Phillps Moneyhole

Last week, Phillips Avenue was reopened amidst much fanfare. The Mayor was there, acting in his capacity as official greeter, as were developers, business leaders, and seemingly every other would-be city bigwig. Film crews from all three networks were present, along with reporters from the Argus Leader.

Everybody present had nothing but gushing praise for the project and the construction crew. All media stories noted that the project was completed well ahead of the deadline. Of course, there was a financial incentive to speed up the process (a fact rarely mentioned in the press coverage).

According to my sources, though, it turns out that this multi-million dollar project was unnecessary work. Remember, this project “needed” to happen to fix a water main, and as early as the initial planning sessions at least one major downtown retailer noted that this work had actually been performed in the early 80’s when the downtown pedestrian mall had been torn up. A city engineer was also reportedly told when he visited this retailer to check out some alley drainage issues.

City officials denied that this was possible, according to one source. “The city insisted that the water line was from the 40’s, but when they got down in there it was from the 80’s and apparently they didn't have a record of this. (This is) strange as it would have been essentially the same project, (with) 80’s prices, of course, but a LARGE project nonetheless.”

Construction could (and should) have stopped right there, but the city carried on. “The sidewalks were to be replaced as a result of this water line work, (as) they would have to bust up sections of the sidewalk to connect us all back in to the line. Since they didn't have to do the water work they shouldn't have done the now completely unnecessary sidewalk replacement. They did it anyway and I have to say it was better quality work before.”

Many questions come to mind after hearing this story. “Did the city get a break in the price tag since the work wasn’t done? Why did they go ahead and replace sidewalk that was still in good shape?” My source adds one further question that I can’t help but include. “Why does Tim Kant have fewer gigantic planters on the bump-out in front of his store than the rest of us?”

Even with the best planter deal in town, though, Kant is reportedly not happy with their existence. “The purpose of the planters, while not the most esthetically pleasing, is to prevent cars from crashing into pedestrians and patrons but Tim's panties are all in a knot because the planters are taking up valuable space on ‘HIS LORDSHIPS’ bump-out. Never mind that that is City property that we all have to get a permit to use.”

What I’d like to know is why is the media ignoring this story? Instead of showing up for photo ops, why aren’t they doing a little digging in the city records? How does an idiot like me find out the real story but they don’t? While I don’t expect much from the fine folks at Sanfordland (I mean KELO), there certainly has to be one remaining investigative reporter at the daily paper.


Todd D. Epp said…

All good questions. The things I noticed were:

A. There are fewer parking places in an area that is already short on street parking; and

B. It doesn't look that much different than before; and

C. Why does the city have to subsidize Minervas and other restaurants with more outdoor seating? (And I love Minervas!)

Todd Epp
Middle Border Sun
Anonymous said…
It's when I got to the part where you said, "According to my sources...", that I began to doubt. This is the same tone (and perhaps source) that you used to chastise me. Apparently the mainstream press disagrees with the statement, " turns out that this multi-million dollar project was unnecessary work." The mayor has lots of enemies inside and outside of the city government. I'm sure that dozens of them tipped off the local news media. It's quite another issue if they felt there really wasn't a story here, since the mayor's enemies have their fair share of problems with the truth. Not to mention react to false information passed off from one boob to the next.

Anonymous said…
no more unamed sources please. who is spreading these rumors ? is it your ego ? since you really have no credentials, but have become a self-appointed watchdog of Sioux Falls media and city government, maybe you are spreading these rumors in order to seem more important than you actually are. your act is getting really old. instead of sitting on the sidelines constantly degrading people in this town, why don't you take a constructive approach and make a legitimate attempt to change the things you constantly rant and rave about ?
Anonymous said…
I'd like to amend my previous comment. In the interest of fairness, it is also possible that
Scott is correct.

Anonymous said…
I know. You just don't know what to say when an entire week's worth of news is about Michael Jackass Jackson. Western civilization has just spiraled down the shitter.


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