Event campus group makes final recommendations to Mayor TenHaken

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A task force, studying what to do with the events center campus in Sioux Falls, presented their final recommendations to Mayor Paul TenHaken Tuesday.

Those recommendations include demolishing the Sioux Falls Arena, expanding the the Convention Center, and relocating the Sioux Falls Canaries Baseball Stadium.

Both the arena and baseball stadium were built in the early 1960's and the task force says both are starting to show their age.

The proposed plan would do away with the Sioux Falls Arena and use that space to double the size of the Convention Center, adding 60,000 square feet.

Teri Schmidt, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau, says a lack of convention space has been costing the city money.

"We have been losing business for several years actually, because Sioux Falls is a place that people want to look at, they want to bring their conventions here, but we don't have enough space currently at the Convention Center," Schmidt said.

Mayor Paul TenHaken says he understands the need.

"An increased convention capacity would catapult us to the next level," TenHaken said.

Some major events will have to find a new home without the Sioux Falls Arena.

"Augustana is already moving their basketball season over to the pentagon, that was a big tenant. The High School Athletic Association has also said they are very comfortable, if they arena would go away, finding alternative arrangements for playing state tournaments," TenHaken said.

As for the Sioux Falls Canaries Baseball Stadium, a new location has not yet been determined, but routine maintenance will continue at the facility until the final plans are in place.

Before any real work begins, City Council will put together a master plan.

Mayor TenHaken says the goal is to have that plan ready for 2020.