SIOUX CITY — After two years of construction, completion of the Chris Larsen Park Waterfront Development Project is in sight.

In 2015, Sioux City Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore said the city submitted a request for quotation for a master plan for the riverfront. Since then, he said, a large number of people, including generous donors, have worked to make the improvements a reality.

The Journal asked several city department heads about their top projects or priorities for the new year. Salvatore considers the completion of the riverfront development project to be among the most notable in his department by 2023. Total construction costs amounted to $12 million.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Salvatore said. “There are some finishing touches in the spring.”

A new play structure is shown at Chris Larson Park in March 2022.

Riverfront additions include gazebos, two large pavilions, trails, an interactive water feature, playground, basketball court, event lawn, plaza, and dog park.

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The riverfront grand opening event is scheduled to take place sometime in May.

Sioux City Director of Economic Development Marty Dougherty said “some bright things are ahead for aviation” in Sioux City in 2023 and beyond.

In early November, city officials and business leaders kicked off the groundbreaking for a $10.7 million aviation center at Sioux Gateway Airport. That project is expected to be completed sometime in the fall.

“It’s really an exciting project,” Dougherty said.

A rendering of a 40,000 square foot aviation center to be built at the Sioux Gateway Airport is shown.

The 40,000-square-foot facility includes a flight academy and additional aviation operations. The aviation center was established through partnerships with Morningside University, Western Iowa Tech Community College, and Oracle Aviation. The project, which was spearheaded by city officials and leaders at The Siouxland Initiative, includes hangar space, training classrooms and office facilities.

“At the same time, we’re working with the (Iowa Air National Guard 185th Air Refueling Wing) on ​​improvements to the airport that I think will increase the chances that we’ll see more growth with the Air Guard and with the airport. Dougherty said.

A strategic planning process has taken place between the Guard and the city-owned Sioux Gateway Airport, according to Dougherty, who said runway replacement, a new hangar and taxiway improvements are “crucial pieces ”.

“That is going to be the number one issue that we will bring to Washington this year,” he said. “By putting those things in place, there could be some growth in the Guard. Securing the long-term future of the Guard and the airport, you’ll be hearing a lot about that this year.”

Helen Rigdon, director of the Sioux City Public Library, holds up a Chromebook computer, which is available to borrow at the Aalfs Downtown Library on Friday.

Just days into the new year, the Sioux City Public Library began providing 900 iPads and Chromebooks and more than 1,000 5G hotspots and routers to Sioux City cardholders.

The Internet for All Initiative, which began at the Aalfs Center Library on Friday and will run through the end of 2023, was made possible by more than $1 million in funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a federal program to help schools and libraries to address the gap. for those who currently lack the necessary internet access or the devices they need to connect to online resources.

Helen Rigdon, director of the Sioux City Public Library, told City Council Monday that between 350 and 360 of the devices have already been checked out.

Approximately 19.5% of Sioux City residents do not have a broadband Internet connection at home, according to the 2020 US Census.

Library clerk Lacey Fullerton talks to a patron as she helps him check out an iPad and router at the Aalfs downtown library on Friday. Tea …

During an interview last week, Rigdon told The Journal that laptops and tablets can be loaned for three months at a time, while routers are available for a year’s loan.

“I think it will help a lot of people who just don’t have access to it and maybe already have jobs and their hours don’t match up with the library to be able to go in and use it,” he said.

Rigdon said he also hopes the devices will help residents with research, homework, job applications and other forms that can only be filled out online. Some of the devices will also be available at various community organizations to provide access for non-library visitors.

Sarah Enright, Local History Librarian, talks about the different electronic resources and digital assets available for free to Sioux City Public Library members.

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The revitalization of the downtown buildings is scheduled to continue this year.

Dougherty said the renovation of the historic Badgerow Building is nearing completion. An Omaha developer is converting the long-vacant 12-story building into homes, offices and an upscale restaurant. Dougherty said leasing for the building spaces is expected to begin in the next 30 to 60 days.

“The pieces are coming together in the center of the city,” he said. “The Badgerow is like the Warrior (Hotel). It is another great achievement for the city center that we can build on and that will lead to additional growth.”

A crane lifts material to the roof of the 12-story Badgerow Building in downtown Sioux City in April. The work is part of the ongoing remodel…

The Sioux City Police Department has three underlying strategies in 2023: marketing the department’s professionalism, strengthening internal resources, and creating a united atmosphere and environment.

Sioux City Community Police Sgt. Thomas Gill said active planning for the future is “crucial” to maintaining the department’s reputation as a “progressive and service-oriented agency”.

“Following a strategic plan initiated by our citizens and staff to properly set agency priorities ensures the long-term health of SCPD. Sioux City Police Department leadership has regular meetings to promote the ongoing strategic plan for the agency,” he said. “These plans were initiated after annual city-wide town hall meetings, citizen surveys, City Council input, as well as meetings with all agency staff.”

Gill noted that the department is not afraid to make immediate changes to meet the needs of citizens.

“We continue to initiate organizational conversions that improve our response to crime and the ability to follow the department’s mission statement,” he said. “We are very proud to admit how much citizen input drives the initiatives and direction of the agency.”

Matt Salvatore, director of Sioux City Parks and Recreation, discusses new play structures and planned amenities at the Riverfront development as part of Chris Larson Park.

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