Other Voices: Wine in Mitchell and attracting events to Sioux Falls

Farm Forum

Wine should be OK on sidewalks in part of Mitchell

Mitchell’s Main Street business district is trying hard to become a unique place to shop, eat and stroll. Niche businesses have sprung up in place of former downtown mainstays, and an association of business owners and other interested parties meets regularly to try to map out a future for the neighborhood.

What downtown really needs, however, is the support of the city, and the City Council, when ideas arise that could spark even the smallest economic development.

One of those ideas has again surfaced, and we’re again watching from afar to see the expected debate begin. The proposal is to allow the serving of wine on sidewalks adjacent to wine-licensed business in downtown Mitchell, and it’s an issue that likely will again draw controversy.

When the issue arose last year, the council seemed interested in approving it. The council changed course, however, after hearing impassioned speeches from a handful of people who are opposed to allowing alcohol consumption on sidewalks.

We urge the council to keep an open mind. We also urge the council to give the OK to serving wine on sidewalks. We note that the proposal limits service to a specific area of downtown Mitchell, and that it prohibits serving wine outdoors during the Corn Palace Festival.

Mitchell’s downtown businesses deserve an opportunity to add a touch of charm to their neighborhood. To deny them this chance is simply being old-fashioned and behind the times.

— Mitchell Daily Republic

Creativity must be used to attract events

To attract larger regional and national conventions, Sioux Falls needs additional small group meeting spaces and hotels that are near the convention facilities, said Teri Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. The shortcoming is becoming more apparent when she and her staff go to conferences and try to sell Sioux Falls conventions.

The assessment was surprising to some, given all the positive development projects underway in our city. But if the lack of adequate hotel rooms on or near our convention center is hurting our ability to draw more regional conventions, then it’s worth our time to study possible solutions.

To alleviate this room and meeting space shortage, several questions will need to be answered: Is there a way to make the 1,000 hotel rooms near the convention center more attractive to potential groups who balk at having to walk or drive to activities? Can we add additional meeting room space in the existing convention center complex? Are there ways to use the convention center, Arena and new events center in creative ways that would please visitors? Are there events to book at the new events center that would provide entertainment and a draw for convention guests, too?

But as a growing city, Sioux Falls should be a draw for state, regional and some smaller national conventions. Conventions bring money into the economy and fuel further economic growth.

So, let’s start to tackle this problem now. Bringing together private business, community and city leaders and Chamber executives to study the issue and potentially recommend solutions is the right first step.

— Sioux Falls Argus Leader