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Automania beverage sales up 40 percent, organizer reports
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

July 10. 2013 10:21AM
Circle June 27, 2014, on your calendar.

That’s the date Automania, a car show that recently drew 60,000 to 80,000 people to Brandon, returns to the city next year.

Organizer Bill Nelson said relocating the event from Downtown Sioux Falls to the city’s Holly Boulevard proved to be a smart move.

“We impressed a ton of people and brought people into Brandon that had never been to (Automania in) Sioux Falls,” he told the Brandon City Council three days following the June 28 event. “A lot of people know where Brandon is now if they didn’t know before.”

Despite a few “hiccups,” Nelson reported a 40 percent increase in beverage sales over last year.

“And I told the vendors they’d do a ton of business. Some of them didn’t believe me but we had four to five run out of food,” he said.

Additional parking, vendors and port-a-pots were mentioned as improvements for next year.

“We’re not making plans to move it anywhere,” Nelson said. “And we’d love to get the car auction here, too.”

For years, the community of Wakonda has served as the host site for the Girard Auction.

“It’s not that we don’t like Wakonda,” Nelson said, “but we’d just as soon as keep them here.”

Nelson thanked the city and its staff for their work in the setup and cleanup of the event.

“We’re extremely pleased with the City of Brandon,” he said. “They mulched, they mowed and we had a lot of comments that the setting was wonderful, so thanks for having some faith.”

Nelson also commented on the law enforcement coverage.

“Brandon is known for strictness, and I was worried, I was,” he said. “But I had nothing but compliments. They were friendly and they were cordial.”

Safe Routes to School grant update

The Council agreed to delay further action on the Safe Routes to School plan until later this month.

Late last month, city personnel met with homeowners whose property would abut the proposed path from the Tallgrass neighborhood to Brandon Middle School. The city had been granted an easement by Brandon Lutheran Church previously, but it was vacated earlier this year upon request of the current church council.

Alderwoman Mindy Hansen said the church council is scheduled to meet July 15. If the church council decides to proceed with granting the easement, it would then go to the vote of the congregation for final approval.

Hansen encouraged residents who favor the safe routes path to email city staff, city council and/or church council members.

Over a year ago, the City of Brandon was awarded an approximate $50,000 state grant for the construction of a walking/bike path and coinciding fitness incentive program with Brandon Valley Middle School,
Wastewater treatment study
Hansen also wants to move forward on recommendations made by city engineers last month in their wastewater treatment study.

“In my opinion, expanding is only putting a band aid on the problem, especially with our growth,” she said, “and the cost to pump to Sioux Falls will continue to rise, so I think we need to look at a new treatment facility.”

Last month, city engineers presented a $23 million plan to upgrade the city sewer system. The upgrade, however, would be done over a number of years, City Administrator Bryan Read said.

Hansen got the support of her Council peers after suggesting Read and staff “go out and search for options.”

Within the month, city engineers will present the water study, Alderman Bob Bruning reminded.

Bruning said the waste water treatment and water needs will need to be addressed in the budget. “It will be expensive, but it can be phased in,” he said. “And the other thing is the water, and that will be as much or maybe even more.”

Matt Cerwick of the Brandon Fire Department digs out a cold drink for a customer at Automania in Brandon. Sales were brisk at all of the vendor booths, as event organizer Bill Nelson reported beverage sales were 40 percent more than the previous year. Challenger file photo/Jill Meier

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