- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Officials have broken ground on a $22 million city administration building in downtown Sioux Falls that divided the City Council and sparked an unsuccessful lawsuit by a citizen group.

The 79,000-square-foot, three-story annex is being constructed on a city-owned parking lot and will house staff for multiple departments, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/2iApYIF ) reported.

Councilor Rick Kiley said a new government building is paramount in keeping up with the growth of Sioux Falls, which is estimated to have a population of 200,000 within six years.

“In the end, this building is about people we serve, it’s about our fellow citizens, it’s about our ability to provide superior service for them in a convenient and effective manner,” Kiley said.

Kiley was among the minority of City Council members in favor of the project. The City Council voted in July to defund the project, but Mayor Mike Huether vetoed that decision.

Throughout the debate, Huether said Sioux Falls is well-positioned to fund the facility and cited the uncertain economic conditions of 1935 when City Hall was built.

“I can only imagine the challenges that the city and its visionaries faces as they tried to outline the reasoning . to create such a beautiful structure at such an unbelievable uncertain time in our city, in our state and in our nation,” Huether said. “But thank goodness they did as we’re still reaping the rewards of their sacrifice.”

Citizen activists began circulating petitions to force a public vote, but the effort failed when a judge deemed signatures collected invalid.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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