Events center campus survey shows citizen opinions on arena, stadium

June 26, 2019

Some clear themes emerged from an online survey about the future of Sioux Falls’ events center campus: People want to see more convention space, major renovation or demolition at both Sioux Falls Stadium and the Arena, and increased accessibility through improved parking and transportation options.

Representatives of the marketing and advertising agency Lawrence & Schiller presented findings of their survey Wednesday morning to the events campus study group. The survey allowed residents of Sioux Falls and surrounding areas to voice their opinions and concerns about the events campus.

The goal of the survey was to gather both quantitative and qualitative data on the current and future needs of the campus, explore the current state of existing campus facilities and gather public opinion and sentiment regarding facility moves, changes and updates, according to the firm’s report. There were more than 2,000 responses submitted over the two-week period of the survey, which surpassed the goal of the project. Lawrence & Schiller analyzed 640 responses to generate its statistically significant data.

Sioux Falls Arena

Almost three in four respondents said they had visited the Sioux Falls Arena in the past two years but were split in how favorably they rated the experience.

Most respondents felt the Arena should be removed from its current use and used instead to expand convention space.

After the firm’s presentation, the committee discussed that Sioux Falls lags behind in convention floor space compared to other cities of similar size. It is looking into recommending building a second floor to the Convention Center or converting the Arena into convention space. Its goal is to double the current convention space, members said.

Sioux Falls Stadium

A majority of respondents said they had attended at least one baseball game at Sioux Falls Stadium in the past two years.

They also were asked to weigh in on how much they value a baseball stadium, with 45 percent responding they view it as somewhat or very important.

While the majority of respondents agreed that the ballpark is in need of updates, opinions are mixed about the correct course of action, with 32 percent suggesting renovations to the current facility and 37 percent suggesting demolishing the stadium and rebuilding elsewhere.

Tom Hurlbert, who spoke on behalf of the baseball stadium subcommittee, said the group’s recommendation largely depends on potential changes made to the Convention Center.

Transportation and parking concerns could be a little more tricky. The subcommittee discussed the potential for a direct transit system between downtown and the events campus and more efficient drop-off and pick-up locations on campus, but study group co-chair Dan Statema said further considerations need to be made before anything concrete is in place.

Survey respondents were split on whether they would use bus service between the campus and downtown.

Respondents also had the opportunity to rate both the Sioux Falls Stadium and Arena on multiple visitor experience aspects. While the majority cited the need for improvements to characteristics such as cleanliness, accessibility and comfort at both facilities, the ballpark scored higher than the Arena on every visitor experience question.

Other key findings of the survey include that visitors attend the campus frequently, with 80 percent of participants attending four or more events. Respondents also recognize the need to integrate more retail and dining to the campus to make it a more well-rounded experience.

In terms of overall experience at all of the campus’ facilities, respondents said they enjoyed the variety and diversity of events held on the campus as well as the general cleanliness and maintenance. However, they gave lower satisfaction scores to transportation and access, parking and affordability of attending events.

Statema said the survey backed up many of the ideas the committee had discussed on campus development.

“It put into context some of our assumptions and highlights some things we weren’t thinking about,” Statema said. “It helped affirm the directions that we are going in.”

The committee’s next meeting is at 8:30 a.m. July 24. In the month before that meeting, Statema said the committee hopes to start formulating its plans and solidifying the timeline for its official report highlighting its recommendations to the city. It also will discuss any plans for additional public input.

“I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of surveys that were taken,” he said. “It shows that the community was engaged. The next public input sessions will be important. We’re very open to the fact that a lot of great ideas won’t just come from the committee.”

Events center campus survey shows citizen opinions on arena, stadium

Some clear themes emerged from an online survey about the future of Sioux Falls’ events center campus: People want to see more convention space, major renovation or demolition at both Sioux Falls Stadium and the Arena, and increased accessibility through improved parking and transportation options.

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