The Battle To Save Spellerberg Continues
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
March 26, 2013 9:31 PM
It’s been the subject of debate for months now, what the city of Sioux Falls should do with Spellerberg Park. Some Sioux Falls residents who are against a new indoor aquatic center at the site made a big announcement Tuesday, they came up with enough signatures to put the issue to a public vote.
Meeting room ‘A’ at the Siouxland Main Library in downtown Sioux Falls was crowded Tuesday afternoon. Veterans, concerned citizens and those leading a group called ‘Save Spellerberg Park,’ let their voices be heard.
“How in the world do they think that they have any right that they can go and tell a veteran that their ability to get to the doctor isn't as important as Sioux Falls having an indoor pool,” said Paula Johnson with ‘Save Spellerberg Park.’
For months the group has been petitioning against a possible aquatic center being built at Spellerberg Park. The estimated multi-million dollar new plan came with a lot of concern.
“The city obviously knows that there is not enough room at the park because they want to use the VA for parking,” said Johnson.
Spellerberg is across from the Sioux Falls VA Medical Center where parking is already an issue. The group said if an aquatic center were to be built, those using it will take up the parking spaces veterans use to go to the medical center. So they petitioned the plan.
"We've been told many times that its not really in a reparable mode, it's beyond all of that, so we are just asking the city to replace the pool with another outdoor pool,” said Johnson.
And not to build an aquatic center. Other Sioux Falls residents seemed to agree. The petition received 7,000 signatures.
But Don Kearney, director of Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation said building an aquatic center at Spellerberg Park is far from a done deal.
“Until our aquatic facility master plan is completed we haven't made any determination on whether the facility will go there or not,” said Kearney.
And Kearney said the VA knows of the possible plans.
“We've had several conversations with the administration of the VA. And continue to have dialogue so that if this facility were to be constructed, it would be a win, win for everyone,” said Kearney.
But the group said even though plans aren’t official and residents will be able to vote on the matter, their battle to save Spellerberg Park has just begun.
“We've got to stay out there, and we've to keep people informed,” said Johnson.
On Thursday a consultant who specializes in aquatic facilities will be in Sioux Falls reviewing all the city’s pools. City officials said they will wait for the final report to come in before looking at the issue any further.