Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mayoral candidate Allender's view on Civic Center expansion

"I believe that if the Civic Center expansion would have passed the public vote, it would have been a successful endeavor. I also believe that there were many errors made during the planning process, public information process and marketing campaign. Overall, no one in their right mind could have expected a majority of Rapid City residents to accept the expansion plan after being kept in the dark for over three years. Plus, $180 million is too much money.
While the $180 million Civic Center expansion project was the most expensive purchase proposal in the history of Rapid City, Mayor Kooiker sought to shield himself throughout the entire process. There are people in Rapid City who voted for Sam Kooiker because he promised to protect them from big government. There are also people who voted for him because he promised economic development. Ironically, when you try to play both sides of the coin, you can’t win.
Unfortunately, during this massive failure, the City spent $700,000 for studies and design and we are no further ahead on this issue than we were three years ago. In fact, the City has taking a giant step backward, if the original intent was to merely bring the Civic Center Arena into ADA compliance.  One thing is for certain: we now have a legal, binding agreement with the federal government to bring the Don Barnett Arena into compliance with ADA codes. Tens of millions of dollars will be spent doing so, and in the end, we will have the same Civic Center arena we have today. Is this progress?"

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