Pierre, S.D. – The City of Pierre needs a 57,000 square foot Recreation and Events Center. That’s the recommendation the City Commission heard Tuesday night from Kirk Simet, a business development representative with ICON Holdings who was hired to study community needs.
Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill says that Simet was hired upon the recommendation of a local task force that was looking for ways to replace the City Auditorium that was demolished in 2014.
“The City Auditorium was used seven days a week and often right up until midnight,” said Mayor Gill. “When we lost the auditorium, we lost recreation space for many of our organized sports and recreational activities.”
To replace that space and add another amenity to the community, Simet recommends a $14.5-milllion recreation center capable of accommodating a wide variety of organized sports activities, as well as regional tournaments, trade shows, concerts, meetings, and other special events.
“Through our research, we learned what kind of space shortages you have in Pierre,” said Simet. “At one point we looked at a much larger facility, but I really feel like 57,000 square feet is the right size to meet the needs the community has right now.”
Financial feasibility is a big part of determining the size of a new recreation and events center, as well as what amenities it could include. Mayor Gill did point out, that if a rec center is built as currently recommended, there would be room to expand if the need arises or additional financing became available.
The proposal presented by Simet Tuesday night is a recommendation. On November 10, the City Commission will determine if it wants to authorize Simet to move forward with marketing and further project development. If so, a series of town hall meetings will be held to gather public input on the development.
“We really want the community to be educated on the subject,” said Mayor Gill. “We want people to understand what a new recreation and event center could mean for the community, and we want to understand what the community thinks of the idea.”
If a new recreation and event center is developed, early estimates show special events alone could bring Pierre millions in visitor spending each year.