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SIOUX CITY | The last major piece of the River's Edge project was unveiled on Oct. 11, 2001, as Long Lines Ltd. stepped forward to acknowledge its $750,000 donation and acquisition of naming rights of the Sioux City Auditorium.
The auditorium was renamed Long Lines Family Center after the 60-year-old Sergeant Bluff-based communications firm. Chuck Long, chairman of Long Lines, said the $750,000 donation was a sharing of blessings from the Long Lines family to the Siouxland family.
The Long Lines Family Center was one of two components of the Tyson-IBP Event Center. The second component -- the new arena, known as Gateway Arena -- was to be built adjacent to the auditorium. The auditorium, which held about 2,500 seats, was completely gutted and renovated and turned into a multipurpose center with support space for the event center.
In the audience during the announcement were several employees and family members of the Long family.
The idea to turn the auditorium into some type of family center came from Mayor Marty Dougherty.
"We knew we would have a fantastic opportunity in this historic auditorium we have," Dougherty said in 2001. "This will create the kind of place we have not had in Siouxland before -- a place for special events like walk-a-thons, indoor soccer matches and many other community and family events. This is a great gift that Siouxland will enjoy for many years."
Ritch LeGrand, a member of the citizens committee that helped raise private donations, said all who worked on the River's Edge project were humbled by the generosity of Sioux City efforts.