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Save Spellerberg prepares for final push

by Greg Belfrage

Save Spellerberg is planning an announcement tomorrow with less than two weeks left before the April 8 election. The group is planning a 12:15pm news conference tomorrow at the Downtown Public Library.

The letters to the editor pages in recent days at the Newspaper Whose Name We Do Not Speak have been full of letters on the issue, mostly supporting an outdoor pool at Spellerberg. However, it's clearly an organized effort as the same names and "facts" keep appearing in the letters.

This week's polling from Nielsen Brothers likely has the group nervous. They should be.

The Neilson survey showed that only 28 percent of respondents favored a new outdoor pool at Spellerberg. Fifty-five percent were against it and 17 percent undecided.

Read more: Poll: Snow gates and Walmart win support

Sioux Falls Park and Rec Director Don Kearney will join me for a full hour Friday morning to answer questions about the outdoor and indoor pools proposed for Spellerberg. He's joining us specifically to answer your questions on the subject. I hope you can join us Friday morning at 8am.

Podcast: Spellerberg forum - Part 1

Here's the news release from Save Spellerberg...

Citizens for Saving Spellerberg Park

pljsiouxfalls@gmail.com

Citizens for Saving Spellerberg Park will hold a press conferenceThursday, 27 March 2014 at the Downtown Sioux Falls Library, Room A at 12:15pm. We will be making an announcement as another step in our campaign to Save Spellerberg Park and replace the current outdoor pool with a new outdoor pool.

Citizens for Saving Spellerberg Park began two years ago when the Sioux Falls Park and Recreation Director announced the outdoor Spellerberg swimming pool was outdated and would be replaced with an indoor pool facility. Attending numerous public meetings it was determined this issue, as some city officials stated, was a done deal. Lacking public input onan outdoor pool at Spellerberg, the neighborhood group initiated a petition drive to bring the discussion to the voters in September of 2012.  By March of 2013, the group delivered petitions with 7,496 signatures to the city clerk. Signatures were verified and Initiated Measure 2 was put on the April 8, 2014 ballot.

Since then, the volunteers of Save Spellerberg have talked to many groups around Sioux Falls, finding significant support.  Of continued concern to many voters has been the acknowledgement from architects hired by the City and the Director of Park and Recreation that Spellerberg lacked sufficient land to build the desired facility with adequate parking.

The Spellerberg Park and Veterans Hospital area has been known to have severe parking problems for over 10 years. Bethany Nursing Home and the Children’s Care Hospital across the street from the VA also suffer from a lack of parking. 

The proposed indoor aquatic center complex would be twice the size of the current outdoor pool.  The city proposes to excavate the broad slope on the north side of the park, and raze 9 existing tennis courts created by USTA Grant in 2008. With two drainage ditch/flood mitigation ponds currently occupying more than 1/3 of the park, a proposed indoor aquatic center will permanently alter the spacious vistas and reduce the useable green space of a treasured 59-year old neighborhood park. 

Spellerberg Park is the wrong place for an indoor aquatic center, and the right place for an outdoor pool.  With an ill-conceived major redevelopment construction project in Spellerberg Park, Sioux Falls Municipal officials will negatively impact Bethany Nursing Home, The Children’s Care Hospital & School, The Veteran’s Hospital and an established Sioux Falls neighborhood of long standing. Save Spellerberg asserts it is more prudent to build an indoor aquatic center in the right place, rather than right now. 

What: Save Spellerberg Press Conference

When: Thursday, 27 March 2014; 12:15pm

Where: Room A, Downtown Sioux Falls Library, 200 N. Dakota Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57117 

Greg Belfrage (@belfrageshow) is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.