Who’s Paying for the Parking Ramp? City Councilors Voice Concerns

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Mayor’s Paul Tenhaken’s proposed 2020 budget is the largest in Sioux Falls History. Tuesday, city department leaders shared their proposals with the city council. A main concern for some councilors is paying for the $21-million dollar parking ramp downtown.

The controversial Village On the River Project was slated to be a 15-story building with two hotels, restaurants, conference space, retail, and a parking ramp. Then in May, the city of Sioux Falls terminated its development agreement. Now it’s just going to be a parking ramp. 

Although the partnership with Village River Group did not work out, Public Parking Facilities Manager Matt Nelson says this parking ramp is needed. He expects around 300 people to use the ramp starting day one.

“Traditionally we’ve seen the demand at 10th and Phillips and this ramp sits nicely to our highest demand area,” said Nelson.

“We still would have built a parking ramp with or without a development on it.”

City Councilor Theresa Stehly has concerns about how this parking ramp is going to be paid for. 

“We built a ramp twice as strong as needed to support a hotel complex that didn’t materialize and we have a whole lot of debt that needs to be paid off,” said Stehly. 

“My concern has and always will be that we don’t place a heavy burden of payment on people leasing parking spots, people using parking meters and that we never have to use that second penny to pay back, I call it a concrete bunker.”

Nelson says it shouldn’t affect taxpayers. 

“This is paid for as an enterprise fund, so it’s not coming out of the general taxpayer funds. This will get paid for with our parking system and lease customers that we already have in the system.”

Since the partnership with Village river group” is not moving forward, City Councilor Pat Starr wanted to know if parking prices at the ramp would be affected. Nelson said right now, no. The plan is to keep the rates the same as they were going to be. 

“We’re going to be at that 80 dollar-ish for spot per month in that new facility, which is consistent with all our facilities downtown for parking ramps,” said Nelson. 

The parking ramp is set to open June of 2020. 


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