This is blog for brandoninfo.com, a website dedicated to news in the Brandon community. Contributers include the staff of the Argus Leader, the Brandon Valley Challenger and the website itself.

Aspen Park

August 14th, 2013 by Alica

Brandon voters will decide whether it’s worth $14.8 million to improve Aspen Park. The election will be Oct. 29.

The plan includes a second entrance to the park, improvements to the swimming pool, a baseball stadium, more parking and other amenities.

What do you think of the plan? Are there any parts you particularly favor? If so, why? How about parts you aren’t crazy about? Does the plan miss something you think should be added?
Would you vote for the bond issue to pay for the Aspen Park package?

Posted in Uncategorized, City business |

112 Responses

  1. always listening Says:

    to big

  2. Anon Says:

    The idea is fine but the price is to expensive. I am not willing to pay an extra $800 a year (for 10 years) in property taxes for this project. Our property taxes are going to go up already for the schools and now they want to add this cost on? At this point, unless the property tax cost decreases, I am a “no” vote.

  3. Driver Says:

    Hard to say from the little information I have (not saying it’s not there).

    But, what’s the cost to me..? I would LOVE to have improvements down there, but depends on the cost to me.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    How many Million will Stockwell make on this one???????

  5. Anonymous Says:

    How many million will Stockwell make on this????

  6. WJ Says:

    $14 million for a ballpark in a town of less than 10,000 people, with a college-sized field? Almost $300 per year increase on a $200K home and $1200 on a $400K home? The tax increase alone will kill it. Add to that the school district wanting to build an intermediate school, which will probably also include a bond issue. I don’t think the mayor and council thought this one out very well, and simply succumbed to what they perceive as the powerful lobby of the baseball/softball association, and then just threw in a bone for the pool supporters. Not very good leadership in my view, and not the best way to try to keep up with Sioux Falls.

  7. Whatever Says:

    Totally, totally agree with WJ. I already can hardly pay my taxes on a fixed income, let alone add to them for 10 years. Too many ballfields for this town.

  8. Alica Says:

    To #3: There is a story in the Aug. 14 issue of the Brandon Valley Challenger that gives all the details (except how much Stockwell Engineers is going to make off the project). I encourage you to check out the story in the paper, or watch for it to appear on brandoninfo.com.

  9. @16 Says:

    Thanks Alica.

    Actually read it last night, a lot of good information. Guessing that the average person will be affected by the $600(ish) increase, I can’t see this passing a vote…

    With everyone’s expenses on the rise, and salaries barely going up (if at all), we are going to vote on yet another substantial hit to our income….? Hm, nope..

    @7, couldn’t agree and disagree more. Hate the increase just like you. But, saying the town has “too many”. Wrong. We are in need of an upgrade, but this is not the way to do it.

    Whoever wrote out the details of this plan on a piece of paper and said “Yup, this looks good” should be removed from their position. There is NO way they thought this would GO anywhere in regards to progress. No only a chuck of (a lot of) change from everyone, but killing our park budget for the next 20 years. WHT?!?

  10. Anon Says:

    #6 The property tax increase on a $200,000 house will go up by $596.40 per year not $300.00 per year. That will be for 10 years. This increase does not include any other property tax increases-schools, city, etc.

    I really would love to see the ballfields expanded and upgraded. The pool- not sure. It is just a big money pit. Unfortunately the cost is just to high.

  11. Anon Says:

    So 600 dollars a year for 10 years on average just to build this thing right? what is the game plan for when we have that many more ball fields to maintain with city employees fertilizer and water? is that going to kill the parks budget

  12. Frank Rizzo Says:

    Maybe we should fix the streets, water and sewer issues first I agree something should be done but now is not the time.

  13. Poorly executed Says:

    There is a need to upgrade the park, ballfields and pool. As a parent of young ballplayers my family would be one of the primary benefiaries of these improvements. With that said, I will still be voting No. The council and mayor clearly did not put much thought/work into how this would be funded. To ask only homeowners (and only those that own a home over the next 10 years) to foot the entire bill for improvements that will benefit the entire community for the next 30 years is completely unbalanced. One cannot justify an additional $5-10k in out of pocket expenses per homeowner for what are basically aesthetic improvements.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    My family would also benefit greatly from the improvements but I’m also a no vote. The school’s budget also calls for a $1 increase per $1k next year and lord only knows what kind of an increase the county will come up with as broke as they are. The $3 increase for this project could look like a $5 to $6 increase by the time all components of the property tax are figured in. Yes the facilities need help but not at this cost. Now that the city has found $2.3M in their 3rd penny pocket that should make a nice start on the improvements. Let the associations come back with some real form of financial commitment instead of the token they are currently proposing along with some private money then lets look at phase 2.

  15. WJ Says:

    The voting public needs to learn more about this proposal, and it’s time for Alica/Jill to do some crack investigative reporting. This would result in a major tax increase and the voters will need to rely either on the Challenger or the Argus to give us the information. How much will the added school property tax increase be if a bond issue is passed for an intermediate school? Tell us about the baseball/softball association, how they are run and how they are financed…we need to know more about them since they are asking the taxpayers for $12 million for their programs. What is the sales tax revenue projection for the increase in tournaments coming to town? Have any studies been done to determine how many more tournaments would choose Brandon over somewhere else? Can our hotels support more tournaments? Why do we need a college stadium? How many more city employees will need to be hired to care for the new ballparks? Have the associations approached any private sponsors yet (Sanford Fields, maybe)??

  16. Anonymous Says:

    At best there are 100 hotel rooms and say they average $150 or $15000 in sales every night they’re full. If tournaments can fill 100 nights per year that’s $1.5 in sales taxed at 3%. $45000 in sales tax revenue on an investment on $14m or a .32% return on investment. Sounds like a loser to me. Scary part is that 100 nights looks more like 20 to 30 nights realistically. My kids played in 4 tournaments this year and only 3 teams they played were from outside a 30 mile radius. Not selling a lot of hotels to them. Right idea, wrong plan. I’d like to vote yes but not at this price.

  17. always listening Says:

    I believe it’s doomed!!!!!!!

  18. Anon Says:

    Are there other items that will be voted on Oct. 29th or is this the only issue?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Good project. However, WAY to costly. I can’t believe the tax payers are even being asked to look at this. When your portion of your real estate taxes that go to the city will go up 70%, it is crazy.
    The bad part is, that in a special election you get such a poor turnout, that it could actually pass if people don’t get out and vote.

  20. WJ Says:

    Alica or Jill….will you be asking the tough questions and uncovering the facts so the voters are fully informed? Or should we contact the Argus to have them get our questions answered? Let’s hear from the city council, the mayor, the baseball/softball folks, the school district regarding a new school and tax increase. This issue needs more coverage so the voters know about the election and about the real issues.

  21. Anon Says:

    Unfortunately, we can educate ourselves to death on this park upgrade but it all comes down to the ridiculously high cost to Brandon property owners. This cost will not be shared by all Brandon residents-just the Brandon property owners. We must remember we have had a lot of apartment complexes built in Brandon over the past few years. All Brandon residents can vote but only property owners pay the extra property taxes. This is a significant fact to keep in mind.

    I question why the council even ok’d this to go up for a vote. It is a fiscally irresponsible plan for one park upgrade.

    I would like to note that I applaud the Brandon volunteers who studied the needs and came up with this plan. My family has personally benefitted from the ballpark and we have also made significant donations to the programs/fields. I also understand the need for upgrades and more fields. Unfortunately, the price tag is just to high.

    Make sure your neighbors are aware of this costly issue and vote on Oct 29th.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Why is there even a vote??? Does the city have 15 million dollars just sitting around to spend?

    Get ready for the floodgates to open. If the city spends this money on baseball/softball there will be every other sport knocking the door down. Didn’t tennis and hockey raise their own money????

  23. Anon Says:

    #22 No, the city does not have $15,000,000 sitting around. The vote is to “ok” the city to increase property taxes on homeowners. If approved, property taxes will increase $300 for every $100,000 of property value. So, if you live in a $250,000 home your property taxes will increase by $750 a year (for 10 years). Keep in mind, this increase is only for this project and does not include any other potential projects (schools, sewer, growth,etc).

    Tennis & hockey did raise some of their own funds but the city also contributed to their projects. The ball associations have contributed many dollars and have donated a lot of time/energy to improve the current fields.

  24. Jeff Gray Says:

    I have attended the last 2 council meetings and I believe I can answer some of the questions you have regarding the cost and why the city council voted for this bond issue in the first place. This will be lengthy so bear with me. First,I believe the reason the council voted for it in the first place is there were only 2 people that showed any opposition at the council meetings and there were many more from the baseball and softball associations. In addition I don’t think the council took into consideration the amount of money that will be needed to maintain these new facilities or what is included. The cost numbers that were given at the August 5th council meeting by Bryan Read were as follows. The bond would be for $12.5 million
    The cost to each taxpayers would be $289.20 for each $100,000 that your property is assessed at. Examples: $100,000/$289.20
    $200,000/$596.40 $300,000/$894.59 etc. for 10 years.
    In addition to the bond issue the land would be acquired by using the Third cent sales tax at approximately $84877 for 10 years or a total of $848,770.
    The extension of Ironwood is estimated to be $1,861,934. This would be paid for by special assessment over a 10 year period. The city’s estimated cost would be approximately one third of this or $73,000 per year. As someone mentioned the pool would be expanded as well. In 2012 the city lost $127,000 at the pool. It was their BEST year ever.
    As to the economic impact I don’t believe the additional sales tax revenue will even come close to what it is going to take to maintain these new facilities. The softball and baseball associations stated at the August 5th meeting that they would commit $110,000 towards this facility. Again at the August 5th meeting Bryan Read stated the city would need to hire 2 to 4 ADDITIONAL fulltime people. Please talk to your friends and neighbors about this and make sure they get out and vote.

  25. Anon Says:

    #24 Thank you for the information. I think more people would have voiced their opinions (pro and con) had they known about this situation BEFORE the council presentation. It does little good to the general public to find out about “happenings” after the fact. The newspaper article should have been done BEFORE the council voted. Of course, that would mean someone would have had to let Jill or Alica know about this project ahead of time. The idea of educating the public ahead of time would be helpful for many many projects in Brandon. Not many people know what is going to be happening at council meetings ahead of time-just after the fact. Maybe the city should consider a facebook page with current, updated information. The City of Brandon’s website has a wealth of info but items are not posted ahead of time-always after the fact info.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for the breakdown #24. I’m appauled this project has gotten this far. Are these people serious? There are many other deserving projects that would benefit far more people than the just baseball/softfall group.

    They will commit 110,000 dollars?? What a joke. That might cover the 4 additional city hires for ONE year.

    I think people have lost their sense of reality.

    As far as the council vote to move forward with this…They voted yes because no one was physically at the meeting to oppose it? Do any of them have any common sense? They couldn’t have just said it’s ridiculous and voted no?

  27. bv nation Says:

    I have a question, maybe you can answer. The bond at issue is for 10yrs. What happens when it is paid off in 10yrs. Does our taxes go down? I thought I heard the school dist. just paid off the bond for the pavillion. How much did our taxes go up for that bond and are they going to lower them back down. Also what about the bond for Robert Bennis how many years are left on that bond, and again what happens when its paid off. The reason I’m asking is I dont think I can remember paying off any bonds and the city or school dist. lowering our taxes back. I hope people take this issue very seriously. I would guess most people will be seeing an increase around $600 to $700. Dont forget that Minnehaha County is broke and their is always a real possibility of them wanting more money. Also all of our utilities have gone up. This could mean an easily $100 or more a month out of your budget. I know my salary is not keeping up.
    Also I hear the argument, just think of the revenue these tournaments can bring into the city. Lets be real. Most people pack their own coolers, because of the cost is hurting most families and most teams and fans do not spend the night in the hotels, they travel back and forth. Thats reality. You get very little return on the amount their spending on these parks. The baseball association will do ok. They will keep all the gate money and entry fees for themselves. But as for everyone else it is just a poor return on the investment. Dont get me wrong I think the game of baseball for children is awesome. But I think the association needs to come up with several other options to consider. Especially if you want to raise my taxes. I vote no!

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Cedar Rapids is building a complex of 17 baseball fields with a cost of 9.4 million.


  29. paul Says:

    On other city buisness, rumor has it a private party has expressed interest in buying the golf course from the city.

  30. Say What Says:

    So why a special election??? Trying to slip this past with a low voter turn out would be my guess.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Please keep in mind that soon there will be a bond issue for a new school to be built.

  32. Jeff Gray Says:

    I hope that everyone on this blog is informing their friends and neighbors about this. There are only 10 people that have blogged on this sight. That is not saying others haven’t read this. I will be putting up signs in my car and my yard this week. VOTE NO for ASPEN PARK October 29th. It doesn’t do any good to keep silent as that is the reason this is going to a vote to begin with. Have a good day.

  33. anon Says:

    Is it to late to cancel this special election? Could a city council member ask the group to go back and put together a more realistic plan (especially costwise) and bring it back for a vote at a later date? The current plan will fail due to cost alone.

  34. Driver Says:

    I think we should hold a car wash to pay for the Park!

    That is about as realistic as the proposed plan itself :)

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Why don’t you put the plan on here so that all can see exactly what they will be voting on in October.
    I don’t agree with the spending but feel that everyone should at least have all the information about the plan to make an informed decision. Do you know are they going to have any public meetings so that people can go and ask questions or is it just at the council meetings where you can go and find out information.

  36. Anon Says:

    #35 Here is the link to the article that was in the BV Challenger and the Argus Leader.


  37. guest Says:

    So the BASA can give $80,000 for lights to the soccer complex but he Baseball and Softball can only come up with $110,000 for the fields that they want.


  38. Anonymous Says:

    A couple of weeks ago there was a post asking for a blog topic on the golf course study results? Why did that request get deleted?

  39. Alica Says:

    To #38: It did? If I deleted it, it was an accident. Spam has been getting through on this blog lately. The other day, for example, I had to delete more than 400 entries. I try hard to keep an eye out for real entries that are mixed in among all the spam. And although I don’t know for sure how that one entry got deleted, I suspect that’s what happened to it.

    Have the golf course study results been released yet? What is the status of that, exactly? I’d be happy to start a thread on that topic.

    Thanks for blogging.

  40. Alica Says:

    By the way, yes, the blog does have a spam filter. It catches literally thousands of spam a day. Lately, spam has been getting through the filter, though. I have alerted IT. Let’s hope we can get it fixed sooner rather than later.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    I noticed all the spam lately, what a time waster.

    Regarding the Golf Course report. There was one report out and it was in the paper a while back. I can’t pull it up from that far back, maybe you could post that article here?

    The one big one that stuck out for me was the profit on liquor at the clubhouse. I believe it was approximately 2% but the industry standard is 25%! Where is the liquor going, holy cow! It sounds like they need some serious changes on how that course is run if they ever want to make money.

    My next question is…who is actually going to do something about it? My guess is no one because for some reason that golf course has been a losing business for years and the city has never cared. Why is that?? Why are they turning their backs?

  42. Zane B. Swenson Says:

    2012 Liquor sales for Community Room and Lounge was $64,476.00. 2012 Cost of goods sold for Liquor in these departments in 2012 was $24,429.00. Feel free to contact me with questions about the golf course or budget numbers at brandongolf@alliancecom.net or 582-7100.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    So you’re saying you had a 40% profit but the study says you had a 2% profit. I don’t understand.

  44. Alica Says:

    Zane, Thanks for posting the numbers. Often, the people who know the answers to questions posted on the blog do not post here themselves. I can research and find answers, but as an hourly employee, sometimes I just plain run out of time.

    Again, thank you for posting.

  45. @16 Says:

    Someone brought up a good point in other potential tax increases than may happen…and even have happened.

    Being a relatively new home owner in Brandon, I’m curious on the previous tax increases that have happened for the schools.

    What (%) were those, how long, did those get paid off early (or on pace to)?

  46. guest Says:

    Looks like KELO will have a story on the doomed park upgrades tonight. http://www.keloland.com/newsdetail.cfm/brandon-voters-to-decide-on-park-updates/?id=153644

  47. Anon Says:

    The project is only doomed if people actually get out and vote. Those in favor will be voting! It could easily pass if only the supporters turn out for the vote.

  48. Anon Says:

    I just read the new article on the ballfield improvements. Questions I have:

    1. This bond vote does not include the costs for the second entrance. Why is that? Is is safe to not have another exit? Why is it even mentioned if it is not included in the costs? When will the second entrance be added and who will pay for that?

    2. The original article on this bond states the cost per $100,000 is $298.20. The new article states the cost per $100,000 is $263.91. Which is it and why did the numbers change?

    3. When comparing area towns current tax rates it says Brandon’s CITY portion is 22.4% of the overall yearly property tax bill. What will the percentage be if the bond passes and the additional costs are added in?

    Per the article “Kirkeby states that equates to about a 16 percent total property tax increase.” Another way to assess this is that the CITY portion of the property taxes will be increasing by 70%.

  49. Tom Says:

    A 16% increase in property taxes for improvements that will be utilized by such a small proportion of the taxpayers of Brandon, one that was proposed by business owners who will be the $$$ beneficiaries - NO WAY!!! With a tax increase looming for a new school to accommodate the newly proposed development in east Brandon, I guess that it’s time to move…again…to a place where young, propagating families are in the minority.

  50. Just wondering... Says:

    Does anyone support this expensive project in Brandon?

  51. Alica Says:

    My guess is that people who support the proposed project mostly would be people who A) use the park or B) can make money off of higher usage of the park.

  52. guest Says:

    I have kids that use this park for Baseball and Softball and I cannot support this expensive poorly thought out plan…..How are they planning to increase the pool to accommodate 200 additional people I have not see this part of the plan

  53. John Says:

    After reviewing the plans listed for Aspen Park I can not support this measure.
    The cost is too high for residential owners when you look at an increase of more than $260.00 a year for the average $100,000 home.
    The second part I don’t agree with is that we the tax payers would provide fields and services and not be able to recoup the expense over the years.
    My feeling are if the group that supports the larger ballpark should step up to the plate and arrange to pay for their ballpark. If it is just for VFW or Legion teams the those two service groups and the Baseball association should figure how to pay for it and the management of the field.
    Then donate back to the city as Sioux Falls has worked with other organizations to update batting cages and diamonds in the city. This only makes sense.
    I can see that the residents in Brandon might look at these upgrades in a different light.
    Too bad the city of Brandon can not look at other parks in Brandon to upgrade with additional ballparks and swimming pool.
    Remember we are growing but need to develop other areas to allow citizens to enjoy Brandon.

  54. guest Says:

    looks like there are some meeting coming up on this topic. Attend one of the two scheduled public meetings for the Aspen Park Expansion Project? The first is Oct. 10 in the City Council Chambers, and the second is Oct. 21 at Tailgators. Both meetings start at 7 p.m.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    It cost 19 million to build the Sanford Pentagon. Your talking 12.5 million to build some baseball/softball fields… dont add up. VOTE NO!

  56. Anon Says:

    Did anyone attend the meeting last night? How did it go? Any new or updated information? Any thoughts on if this bond issue will pass?

    Someone forwarded me these two ballfield projects. I found them enlightening.



  57. Voter Says:

    Attended meeting on October 10; here’s my recap:
    Less than 30 people attended.
    Brief, broad presentations followed by Q&A.
    Most attendees seemed to agree we need to update Aspen; all appreciated the work of the committee.
    Much concern about the cost–how can it be so much when the project excludes roads and land purchases? Several asked for details of the cost, but the presenters did not provide the information.
    Much concern that the council isn’t communicating. Only two meetings and these aren’t advertised.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    ***********Meeting should be on local channel 21. Can you get the date and time Alicia?********** And is it too late to advertise that?

  59. Sue Says:

    I heard it was pretty amusing. For wanting us to support this, they didn’t have their facts straight. Would love to see it for myself!

  60. Anonymous Says:

    All I “GET” out of this conversation so far is that I want to get into the Baseball field construction business! Holy Cow!

  61. Just wondering... Says:


    Harrisburg SD:
    22 acres (brand new park)
    4 softball/baseball diamonds
    2 championship baseball diamonds
    6 basketball courts
    6 volleyball courts
    8 t-ball diamonds
    8 flag football fields
    4 soccer fields
    Community raising money for this park.

    Brandon SD:

    $14.8M ($12.5M bond)
    1 full sized baseball diamond
    1 official Little League diamond
    upgrade current softball diamond used by high schoolers
    2 multi-use softball/baseball diamonds
    1 concession stand/restroom facility
    larger playground
    parking lot expansion & paving (at meeting they said cost was $3M)
    general improvements to current diamonds
    shade structure
    +pool improvements ($2.5M)
    Cost paid for by raising city property taxes 70%.

  62. FutureFormerResident Says:

    And for some real entertainment options in Brandon please consider tonight’s council meeting at the top of your list. They finally have the golf course consultant on the agenda. Oh wait, he was last week also??? My guess is he wanted to at least get a visit to the facility before finalizing his report. Oh wait, he was out there already three or four times. Not sure what this dude’s qualifications are but I do know who his friends are and because one of those friends have been making iquiries into the facility lately I am not sure the council will get impartial guidance. Maybe that is what they want. Should be interesting.

  63. Anonymous Says:

    Please VOTE NO on this issue, we cannot handle the burden of more taxes in this community…signed the working poor people…..God Bless

  64. Anon Says:

    I put a comment on earlier today about the Aspen Park meeting tonight. No opinion, just that there was a meeting tonight at Tailgators 7 pm. Why was it removed?

  65. Alica Says:

    To #64: I’m glad you reposted the time and location. Every day, I have to delete dozens, sometimes hundreds, of spam comments from the blog. I try hard to look at the content of each one before I delete it, but I must have deleted your post by accident.

  66. Anonymous Says:

    $12.5 million is not the answer. Vote No on October 29th. Alicia, will tonight’s meeting be televised? There was a lot of enlightening information shared.

  67. Anon Says:

    #66. Since a lot of people were unable to make it to the meeting could you share some of the items discussed? It would be really nice if it was televised before the vote next week.

  68. Pete Vitz Says:

    Too many eggs in one basket with the price for this park. Upgrades are necessary but not at this inflated cost. I am proud of my town but this project will handcuff many others for the next ten years. VOTE NO

  69. Anonymous Says:

    $12.5 doesn’t even include cost for 2nd entrance via Ironwood. Projected cost for that could be another $1.4 million probably more. The pool improvement will not increase capacity for the actual pool only the 0 to 3 ft. Much more. Hopefully it will be televised. Alicia, any idea when this will be?

  70. Alica Says:

    I will check to see if it will be televised and will let you know.

  71. Anonymous Says:

    Will the city be sure that there is a sign at the Fire Station to let them know that the voting will only be down at City Hall? I have spoken to numerous people who were not aware of this. Thanks!

  72. Anonymous Says:

    What is the percentage of the 1000 kids that participate in the Softball and Baseball program actually live in the city limits? Shouldn’t the kid’s parents who don’t live in the city limits be helping to pay for the $12.5 million project they came to the city requesting? And where were these parents at the meetings? Didn’t hear from a single one of them at the meeting I attended.

  73. Jon Says Says:

    Do the members of the Chamber realize by supporting this $12.5 million bond, they are taking money from the hands that feed them. Shame on you.

  74. Anon Says:

    Absentee voting can be done at City Hall (Main Street) anytime during normal business hours. Vote now or on 10/29.

  75. fed up Says:

    As a resident of Brandon for the last 51 years, I can say that I am ashamed of the way that the so called leaders of our city have let this issue of Aspen Park come up for a vote…Shame on YOU!!! How do you expect families that are already struggling to make ends meet pay for a park that will only benefit a few!! Please vote NO!!!


    My parents have lived and paid taxes in Brandon for the last 55 years. Living on a fixed income now it is already hard to make ends meet and with this ridicules vote coming up and by chance it passes it will be even harder. I would hope in the future you would think of all the people not just your select few.

  77. Just wondering... Says:

    Any update on weather the meetings will be televised before next Tuesday?

  78. Just wondering... Says:

    Whether not weather. Whoops.

  79. Anon Says:

    An alternative funding source for this project needs to be figured out. Property taxes are not the appropriate way to pay for a luxury (want, not absolute need) item.

  80. Anonymous Says:

    Our government just endured a shutdown, we essentially are still in a recession (no pay increases/increased productivity expected at work places,etc), and there is people out there believing that $14 million dollars for baseball fields is justified? How about the community comes together and volunteers their labor to build some new ballparks….no need for the bells and whistles….We need an outfield, bases, a couple dugouts, and some shade trees for the fans!! The baseball field isn’t going to make the player!! I grew up in a small town and was proud of the “community” field that the high school kids built and still enjoy going back to the old wood bleaches to watch tball games!

  81. Anon Says:

    Vote no. Project not needed. Do the right thing and vote no. That will make you better citizens of this great town than the people who represent us on city council. If they really represented the folks of Brandon, this would have never have come to a vote.

  82. alan Says:

    Can anyone explain to me why the voting ballot says that the bond would be a 20 year bond when all along the city officials have stated that the bond would be a 10 year bond and the property tax increase would only be for 10 years and then the bond would be paid off. It appears to me that the city wants the option of keeping the tax increase on for 20 years. I think it is time for the citizens of Brandon to think seriously about leadership changes in city hall. I think it is time for the fiscally irresponsible Mayor and Council members to go!

  83. Just wondering... Says:

    #82 WOW! DId anyone else catch that? Seriously wrong!

  84. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, and yet they don’t mind letting the golf course bleed money year after year. Absurd.

  85. alan Says:

    #84 Actually my understanding is that there are several areas of the golf course course that is making money and actually holding it’s own. The biggest problem with the golf course as I understand is the huge clubhouse payment, which the city official’s refused to refinance when the interest rates were very favorable. I have been told that once the clubhouse is paid of the golf course will be profitable.

  86. Anon Says:

    It appears it is time for some changes at city hall! Anyone know when the next elections are for Mayor and Council?

  87. Anonymous Says:

    Huge defeat, suppose the mayor and council feel ridiculous? What a waste of time.

    What does it cost to hold a special election?? Do you know Alica?

  88. Anon Says:

    Have to agree with #87 here, what a waste of time and money for everyone involved. I really enjoyed being forced to stand in the rain for 40 minutes last night to keep my taxes from going up. 90% + opposed this - how on earth did this make it to a special election? I think whoever planned this fiasco needs to rethink their place in public office.

  89. Guest Says:

    The Council should be held accountable for allowing this vote to even happen. With a defeat like that it should have been obvious that this was not the write answer. I know that there are upgrades needed at Aspen park but this was an unrealistic pipe dream by a very small minority. Bring us a realistic plan and watch it pass. Take care of the park that is there would be a good start.

  90. Just wondering... Says:

    Where does Brandon go from here? It is apparent that the people currently in charge of keeping our city moving forward are out of touch. We need new leadership!

  91. Guest Says:

    I loved the comments in the Argus from the Chairman of the Parks board and from the council rep on the parks board. Now we can’t and we have no other plan. Sounds a lot like my 5 year old pouting cause they did not get their way.


  92. Dad Says:

    Thank you people of Brandon for doing the correct thing here. I do not dispute the need for a new field however with the building of new school or schools we could be looking at a way to large tax hike. Plus this was really put together in a fishy way. This improvement does not include the purchase of land nor does it include the cost of the road. Let’s sit down put it on paper what is ALL needed and do it the honest way. My advice is to look for a corp sponsors like Avera or Sanford to sponsor and donate to the field.

  93. Anonymous Says:

    No one ever addressed why the ballot said 20 yrs, not 10 like the voters were told.

    I know some of the council read this blog because they have answered questions before….could we get some insight into that from them?

  94. Anon Says:

    Agreed #93. The city needs to respond to this issue. Yes, council members do read these blogs. Anyone willing to step up to the plate with an explanation? Doubtful. BTW-the bond said “up to 20 years” not just “20 years”. That minor wording does make a difference.

  95. small town politics Says:

    Still…up to 20 years is a far cry from 10 years. What, were they going to add on the cost of the land and new entrance later?

    I tried to go back and review the articles but the argus charges to get an article from archives (wow)

    The Brandon Baseball group has always had a vision of a baseball mecca in Brandon. They need to realize that we live in SOUTH DAKOTA. We will never or should have what LARGE cities in the SOUTH have where they play year round.

    We have 10,000 people, 2 hotels and limited eating establishments. We can not handle the mega tournaments they envision. They will pay the entry fee to the BBA and then will go to Sioux Falls where there is a multitude of food, hotels, and entertainment. When they aren’t playing a game, they go swimming, shopping or take in a movie. It would have cost Brandon a fortune after this thing was built. Who is going to take care of it? The additional 4 people the city would have to hire? Water bill to water all those fields? repairs? electricity to run outfield lights? The city will pay… and watch the sales tax go to Sioux Falls. Meanwhile the Baseball Association pads their pocket with entry fees, and concession dollars.

    I’m shocked at the selfishness of this whole idea. 12.5 million for ONE SPORT? Meanwhile our pool is so outdated no one wants to go there (again they go to Sioux Falls) Everybody in town can use the pool. Young, old, athletic or not. And no pools don’t make money. They have never made money. It’s called a city ammenity just like a park. A park doesn’t make money either. And you say but parks don’t lose money. Well technically they do because someone is getting paid to maintain them.

    The council should be ashamed they ever entertained this idea. What a waste of tax dollars to hold an election.

    I hope they finally see the small group that drove this project. 93% defeat! The people have spoken loud and clear.

  96. answers please Says:

    1. What did the engineers charge for their services to draw up this plan (time, blueprints etc?)

    2. Exactly how many dollars were spent on this election?

  97. Alica Says:

    To #87: It cost about $1,200 to put on yesterday’s election, according to City Administrator Bryan Read.

  98. Alica Says:

    To #86: Every spring, someone on the City Council is up for election. The seats rotate. The mayor’s seat is up for election again in 2015. To see the details, go to the city’s website at www.brandonsd.com and click on “mayor and council.”

  99. Poorly Executed Says:

    From Argusleader.com - “Brandon City Councilwoman Barb Fish, who represents the council on the park board, said the city will have to reconvene the task force to see what should be done now.”

    “We don’t have a plan B,” she said.

    …Don’t have a plan B??? You didn’t have a plan A! Our city administrators wasted everybodys time and money on a poorly thought out plan. No reasonable person would have thought that proposal made sense for the members of our community.

    Most of the people I have talked to all agree on three things 1) We need improvements to the Aspen park complex 2) The proposal was not even close to the correct solution 3) This council/mayor are not appropriately serving the needs of our community.

    Please remember days like yesterday and proposals such as this during the next election.

    p.s. The hiring of the golf course consultant is equally wastefull and another example of the ineptitude of our city leaders.

  100. small town politics Says:

    The golf course needs to be sold. We can’t afford to keep owning a losing business. Pure economics.

  101. small town Says:

    to #100, under that reasoning, do you plan to sell the swimming pool as well?

  102. Anonymous Says:

    Regarding the golf course, if the council was smart they would extend the note on the clubhouse 10 years or so to help it cash flow. Problem solved. Pure economics.

  103. small town politics Says:

    Apples and oranges.

    What is the cost to golf 18 holes with a cart? 46.88

    How much does it cost to rent the banquet room?

    How much revenue is done through alcohol sales both on the course and in the bar?

    How much is made on the proshop?

    My point is it’s a money MAKING entity.

    How much does is cost to swim all day? $2.00 and maybe a laffy taffy for .50?

    The golf course is not a park or amenity it’s a business. The pool is not a business, it’s an amenity like a park. Primarily for children.

    The golf course caters to a small population of people who golf. I’m all for golf courses, but they are a business and should make a profit.

    Why do people in Brandon always compare the pool to the golf course? They are not in the same category.

  104. anon Says:

    How about we sell the golf course and use the proceeds to built a great pool that will make money because people won’t go to Sioux Falls to swim?

  105. Alica Says:

    To #105: I’m with you on posting anonymously. I wish people would use their names.
    Alica P. Thiele

  106. Anonymous Says:

    So what are your thoughts Jeremy?

  107. Anon Says:

    Jeremy’s real thoughts are posted anonymously.

  108. Anon Says:

    10/31/13 Argus Leader:

    They can begin improvements immediately at Aspen Park by maintaining what is already there. WHY would anyone vote to spend more money on a park that is already NOT maintained very well. It was looking really good about 4-5 years ago-what happened? There should be enough staff already to cover maintenance issues plus the city hires extra summer staff.

    Also, maybe the park board can organize a volunteer work day (or two) and bring the community together to improve the area. I grow tired of listening to parents raise money to send their teens to foreign countries to help other people (spend more money on travel than on the needy people). Why not do something for THEIR own community? How about the service groups at school-can’t they be organized to do some good in their own town? Kids and parents need to recognize they can (and should) do good things for others living in their own community.


    To #109 BRAVO

  110. FutureFormerResident Says:

    Sell the golf operation - the only income generating asset the city has? Ok. I will go along with the mis-informed on the financials and go for a sale idea. Check out the proposal for such a idea at the council meeting tonight. It is hilarious. It appears that the first suitor for a lease with option to buy recommendation by the so called golf consultant is someone (T Walsh) that many of us suspect is at the very least in contact with if not working behind the scenes on the whole process. In fact, he was at the meeting when the council received the recommendation.

    This offer will be a three year lease with option to buy. Lease payments and 50% of any capital improvements come off of the purchase price of 1,200,000.00. Yes, that is less than the cost to build the clubhouse alone. It appears that there has been no appreciated value on the property the last ten years. I guess they forgot there are 18 holes of golf included in the deal too.

    So here is the math:
    3 year lease - 420,000.00
    net sell price - 780,000.00
    payoff on clubhouse 3 years from now - 648,000.00
    city nets - 132,000.00

    Even better the new lessee under this deal gets to make capital improvements for 50 cents on the dollar, provided the purchase option is exercised.

  111. golfer Says:

    Hey future former resident all you have to do is check mark amundsons march newsletter at sutton bay and he mentions “my good friend tom walsh”. Funny. Seriously? Mark Amundson a consultant? . And number two that is a serious conflict of interest. Classic. Good job in doing your research mayor, city administrator, and council. By the way how many trips has the mayor made to sutton bay?

  112. T Walsh Says:

    Who is this Bob Bruning guy? Does he live in Brandon? He sure doesn’t know much about the golf operations for allegedly attending the golf committee meetings for the last year. Seriously, does he live in Brandon anymore? We need to get him off of the council ASAP!

    I feel it is necessary to apologize for implying that current course operations and mainentance were not where they should be because of current management. I forgot to consider that every penny spent, every course improvement proposed in the last 2 or 3 years being denied and lack of support for marketing the facility is scrutinized by a panel of people neither experienced in business or golf. Or did I?

    I sure hope my buddy, Ammundson, gets my numbers included in his report next time. I need to get this approved before the next election!

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