A different view on state funding for the SD Hall of Fame

I had a nice note and spoke with Judd Lindquist, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Hall of Fame himself over my post the other day on the bill that's been introduced to provide the Hall with state funds to help promote their efforts. Obviously, Judd didn't entirely agree with my position. But not in a bad way. He was entirely professional, and as such, in the spirit of debate, I offered him the space on the SDWC for another point of view.

So without further ado, here's the SD Hall of Fame making their case as to why the bill might be a good idea.

A Case For The South Dakota Hall of Fame

My name is Judd Lindquist and I’m the Executive Director of the South Dakota Hall of Fame and being simple-minded I was told at a young age, “If you always tell the truth, you will never have to remember what you said.”(Meaning I’m trying to break the ice to show I’m sincere in making the case for the South Dakota Hall of Fame requesting state funds).

The South Dakota Hall of Fame mission is to recognize and honor pioneers and leaders from all walks of life who have contributed to the development and heritage of South Dakota. We celebrate high levels of achievement that are attainable by South Dakotans. We educate attendees on achievements beyond stardom as they examine “plain folk” of great accomplishment. Without a caretaker like the SDHOF, great individual accomplishments may go unnoticed and be forgotten. You don’t need to live in a major metro area to be inspirational. Inspired by greatness, South Dakota youth may consider careers of attainment closer to home. Please visit us at www.sdhalloffame.com to view more about our organization!

Asking for state funds is a double-edged sword. If the SDHOF is on solid financial ground, why should the taxpayers have to fund any part of it? If the SDHOF is financially shaky, why should the taxpayers throw good money after bad? Answer: The SDHOF is working towards a proactive, fiscally sound, economic future and you don’t get funding if you don’t at least ask for funding.

We have increased involvement at the local level with the City of Chamberlain waiving water & sewer costs along with gratis grounds keeping. Brule County has set aside $4,000 annually for Brule County Museums (local, county, next?). We are working towards forming an Educator’s Advisory Board to better serve Schools, Teachers, & Students across the State. We visited with the SDDOT about becoming a visitor information center to add additional signage and increase traffic. Our local Chamber & Development Offices are analyzing their budgets to financially assist the SDHOF in return for office space. We have approximately $650,000 of naming opportunities available (but eventually these will run out). We’ve been able to obtain a few mini-grants, but larger grants are time consuming and require extensive research, but we will be diligent. We’ve trimmed almost $100,000 out of the budget over the last two years. We’ve put $45,000 in our Endowment Fund with the South Dakota Community Foundation within the past month. We’ve got solid financial commitments from a few individuals and corporations for 2007. Our annual membership is $60 ($5/month) and we have about 300 members (100 of these are lifetime members who don’t pay annual membership fees).

The South Dakota Hall of Fame is not curing cancer, vaccinating kids, and we are not a crippled children’s hospital. I’ve been called everything but civil and have heard all the comments such as; “You can just buy your way in!” or “I can’t believe you inducted so-and-so! Go get their money!” I hold my head high representing this organization because it adds faces and stories to South Dakota! Everyone has heard of Joe Foss and Tom Brokaw, but what about Ted Blakey, Ilo Vanderboom, and Pee Wee Dennis? Sitting Bull and Chief Iron Nation are inducted, but do you know Lorraine Flaws and Marcella LeBeau are also Inductees? If this doesn’t matter because you’re still upset over a certain Inductee, remember, Jesus said, “Those who live without sin cast the first stone” and even Cal Ripken Jr. only got 98.65% of the Hall of Fame votes.

Folks, I know this bill gives some of you heartburn and my comments won’t in any way change some of your opinions (but hopefully won’t escalate the heart-burn). I’m fully aware if we are going to solicit public funds, we better prepare for public scrutiny. We want to educate South Dakotans and tourists alike. Governor Rounds said this past summer he has told lawmakers he will work with them on legislation to provide more money for tourism and visitor industry infrastructure. This 10,000 square foot facility located at I-90 & Exit 263 is a “Great Place” (representing South Dakota) with “Great Faces” (representing South Dakotans)…The South Dakota Hall of Fame.

Agree or agree I should be drawn & quartered, I hope everyone will stop by to visit the South Dakota Hall of Fame. Just give us a chance; we are working hard to preserve the legacy of our most valuable asset, the people of South Dakota.

Sincerely,
Judd Lindquist – Executive Director
South Dakota Hall of Fame
I'll hold any further opinion on the legislation for the moment, but agree or disagree with the bill, I would encourage you to support the Hall as you see fit.

Donations can be sent to:
South Dakota Hall of Fame
PO Box 180
Chamberlain, SD 57325
And if you see me spouting off on some legislation and you think I'm off base, drop me an intelligent and well written position, and if it's appropriate, I'm always happy to post other opinions.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Nicely said, Mr. Lindquist, and a well reasoned argument. Having had many a perfect cheeseburger at Casey's Cafe, gazing down at your site, I wish you well.
Anonymous said…
I think this is a worthy cause. Good luck with it!
If we can fund the State Fair, why not this as well!

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