Rec Center Development: Commission Votes to Take Next Steps
Pierre, S.D. – The Pierre City Commission decided Tuesday night to continue project development for a new recreation and events center in Pierre.
That means, the City will drill down architectural design details, initiate a partner revenue fundraising plan, and schedule town hall meetings to hear public input on the issue.
Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill said that although the Commission voted to take next steps in project development, there are still many decisions that need to be made before a final design is authorized and the project is approved.
“This vote means, as City Government leaders, we want to continue down the path of building a recreation and events center,” said Mayor Gill. “But we won’t commit to building the facility until we better understand the public’s viewpoint and the financial impact. These next steps will help inform both of those issues.”
Between now and next Spring, there will be three town hall meetings scheduled to provide a forum for information exchange between the city, the project development consultants and the public.
Last month, Kirk Simet a business development consultant with ICON Holdings presented to the commission a proposal to build a new recreation and events center. The $14.5-million dollar facility would replace the recreation space that was lost when the City Auditorium was demolished last year. As proposed, the recreation and events center would be capable of accommodating a wide variety of organized sports activities, as well as regional tournaments, trade shows, concerts, meetings, and other special events.
The proposal city leaders have voted to move forward with calls for a 57,000 square foot facility, but the facility could be expanded if additional financing became available or a compelling need arises.
“At this point, we believe 57,000 square feet is the right size for our community right now,” said Mayor Gill. “As proposed, I believe this rec and events center could really enhance the quality of life here in Pierre, and I am very energized about what it could mean for our community.”
The proposal suggests construction on a new facility could begin as early as 2017 and be open for business as soon as 2019. Early estimates show special events alone could bring Pierre millions in visitor spending each year.