Tried to jump start my Christmas Spirit last night by taking my bride for a ride to check out the lights; especially those at Falls Park. I know Mayor Dave Munson took a lot of heat for his persistence in developing the Phillips to the Falls project but, honestly, as one who remembers when that area was nothing but a thicket with greasy old buildings surrounding our still impressive but much neglected Big Sioux River Falls, to see its transformation is pure joy and worth every penny spent on rehabbing the area.
It is wonder to behold any time of year but especially around Christmas when the park trees are aglow with tens of thousands of bluish white lights while many of the conifers are illuminated in red or green. As Linda and I, along with hundreds of others, drove slowly through this glittering wonderland, we both said simultaneously, “classy.”
Oh, I’m sure there are those who grumble about how that money could have gone for more practical things like cutting taxes or upgrading sewer pipes.. something less flashy. But, I for one am proud that my town has not always pursued the strictly sensible approach to things. The Washington Pavilion, for example. Oh, man I remember reporting so many news stories about the heated battles between those for and against the Pavilion/Convention center projects yet when they were finally completed, one couldn’t help but be in awe at the beauty of the place..especially the Great Hall. Not only was it a sight to behold but it didn’t take long for audiences and performers to truly appreciate the acoustical quality of the room be they for theatrical or musical performances. It was so cool to have an I-Max theater, science center, and art galleries right there downtown. Not to mention, a brand new convention center cleverly attached to the Arena with banquet facilities and adequate room to finally accommodate large groups that had before passed the city by. I know they’re not big money makers but, like Falls Park, I’m glad they are there. I don’t use the bike trail or visit the zoo or most city parks very often but I’m glad they’re here. I don’t ski or snowboard but I’m glad for Great Bear.
Maybe I’ll even say that about the new Events Center some day. But, for now, that thing makes about as much sense to me as those big cement ball planters scattered around downtown Sioux Falls.
See, there I go. Just when I thought I’d been dumbstruck into seasonal serenity.