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Petitioners Hope To Save Spellerberg Park



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A group of petitioners are trying to save Spellerberg Park in Sioux Falls.

They’re against the city remodeling the existing park to make room for an indoor aquatic facility.

On Tuesday, it was a heated discussion at the Main Siouxland Library.

People said some of their concerns include not enough parking, the possible expansion of Western, creating more traffic to the area and getting rid of the park's green space.

Another concern is letting the people, rather than the officials, dictate what will happen to Spellerberg Park.

The leaves have fallen on Spellerberg Park's open space this season, but come next fall, the park could be a construction site to a new indoor aquatic facility, that is if the city council approves the Park Board's a master plan to move forward.

"I want the people to decide," said Barb Himmel-Roberts.

Barb Himmel-Roberts is a 50-year-Sioux Falls area resident and said she wants to keep Spellerberg Park as is.

“I loved having little neighborhood parks, let's not get rid of them because someone says, well this neighborhood has looked the same for 50 years," said Himmel-Roberts.

Parks & Recreation Director, Don Kearney, attended the discussion and said two public hearings have been held this year to get feedback from people in Sioux Falls.

He said the response they got from the meetings is conflicting with the reaction from these petitioners and said Parks & Recreation will keep exploring the park site.

"We're going to continue with our plan, take the next step to learn more about the site of Spellerberg and then be in constant dialog with the Park Board, City Council and the community," said Kearney.

Kearney said the proposed indoor facility has not been designed yet nor have cost estimates been drawn, but Charlie Roberts, the petitioner’s spokesman, said his research showed there's not enough space to accommodate parking or increased traffic and said the current pool needs to be fixed, rather than demolished.

"Small parks in a neighborhood are an asset and we want to keep our park as it is with a new outdoor pool as scheduled," said Roberts.

For Barb she said the group of petitioners will fight.

"This group will continue and they'll get their petitions and they will get on the ballot," said Himmel-Roberts.

With the hopes that during the next Fall, the leaves will be falling on the same ground that it has ever since she said she could remember.

The petitioners plan to get 5,500 signatures by March 27th, 2013 to make it on the next school board election ballot.

Parks & Recreation should have more detailed plans available for the City Council to review early 2013.
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