SIOUX CITY -- For the first time in its 45-year history, the Siouxland Center for Active Generations will be open at night.
"Our hours had always been from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday," executive director Cheryl Hansen said. "Even though we'll keep our 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. hours the same on Fridays, our doors will now be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday."
She said the 313 Cook St. facilities' expanded hours are due to the fact that people aren't retiring once they reach 65.
"If we have potential members who are working during the day, we can't be a benefit for them when we're closed at night," Hansen said. "We also realize that we have members who are driven to the center by family. If their kids have day jobs, we needed to stay open later."
This is how she said the center will remain relevant in the future.
"Seniors are staying active longer," Hansen said. "We need to take advantage of that."
Right now, the center's more than 1,200 members can drop in and use the center's exercise equipment and billiard room at night. They can also walk laps in the 30,000-square-foot building.
Hansen said some of the center's more than 65 weekly programs and activities will be offered at day as well as at night.
"I can certainly see a daytime yoga class and nighttime yoga will attract entirely different types of members," she suggested.
Indeed, many of the center's most popular offerings revolve around health and fitness. Such programs include a balance class, adaptive aerobics and several dance classes that include ballroom, tap, and even hip-hop.
"I'd love it if the nighttime hours would also bring in members who are still in their 50s," Hansen said. "Our fitness programs are a form of preventive medicine. You'll see more dividends if you get fit earlier."
Members wanting to acquire more intellectual stimulation can become involved in everything from book clubs, chess clubs and computer labs.
Marc Christofferson said he'd happily come in during the day or night if it meant spending time with friends playing table tennis.
"Table tennis is what keeps me young," the 68-year-old Sioux Cityan said. "I've been playing it here for four or five years."
"Nah, you've been playing table tennis here closer to seven or eight years," Don Phipps, 83, interjected. "I should know because we started at the same time."
"That's what happens when you get older," Christofferson said with a laugh. "You lose track of time and you lose track of score."
After witnessing Christofferson and Phipps swat a little ball back and forth, it's easy to see that both men remain mentally and physically sharp.
This is important to Hansen, who said the need for centers catering to active seniors will increase as baby boomers age.
"To too many people, getting older means becoming isolated as friends and family move away," she said. "Our center allows members to socialize while learning a new skill or picking up a new hobby."
Hansen is especially interested in bringing live bands and karaoke to the center at night.
"We've always thought we were the best kept secret in Siouxland," she said with a smile. "Longer hours will allow more people to be in on the secret."
SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City Council on Monday will vote on construction documents for a street reconstruction project on Morningside Avenue.
The project, anticipated to begin May 1, will bring new paving, sidewalk, driveways and utilities to the street from South Nicollet Street to South Lakeport Street, including the Morningside-South Lakeport intersection.
The project will include four phases and is anticipated to take 125 work days.
City documents say staff have met with the Morningside Days Parade Committee to coordinate the parade route around the project. Staff say the route will begin at the intersection of South Nicollet Street and Morningside Avenue and travel west on Morningside outside of the construction area. The city will hold a public meeting once it awards a contract.
If the council approves the documents, the project will go out for bid in March.
The city has been working with DGR Engineering for the project design.
In mid-September, city staff had come before the council for feedback on a plan that would have also included a transition from four-lane to three-lane traffic on Morningside Avenue for the half-mile stretch between the South Lakeport Street intersection and South St. Aubin Street, as well as the addition of reverse-angle parking on the street's south side.
SIOUX CITY — As far as Julie Schoenherr is concerned, no compromise has been reached between business owners on Historic Fourth Street and the committee behind Awesome Biker Nights.
In a letter to the Journal, Schoenherr, owner of Soho American Kitchen & Bar, explained why no "full compromise" has been reached with the Awesome Biker Nights committee, refuting comments made by chairman Brian Hall last week.
The issue will be on the agenda at Monday’s Sioux City Council meeting after the council deferred the item for three weeks to allow both sides to try and resolve it themselves.
“Our number one point of contention with the event coming to Historic Fourth has been and continues to be loss of revenue for our businesses and employees from the Awesome Biker Nights 2017 rally and a potential loss in 2018,” Schoenherr wrote. “We feel that ABN’s decision in 2017 to compete with the existing bars and restaurants in beer sales is emphatically wrong.”
Last week, Hall told the Journal a compromise had been reached after two meetings attended by Schoenherr, the owners of M's on Fourth, staff from Downtown Partners, and the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
"We knew we could come to an agreement; we just had to have a meeting when there's issues and bring it to the table," Hall said.
Schoenherr’s biggest gripes are the Awesome Biker Nights committee selling beer and charging Fourth Street business owners $1,000 — knocked down from $1,500 — likewise to do so in front of their own storefronts.
An agreement was reached that would allow people who do not want to attend Awesome Biker Nights festivities to be escorted to the restaurant or bar of their choosing through a "non-event attendee entrance" on Court Street.
Schoenherr said she’s personally asked the committee to find other revenue streams, including looking for sponsorships, rather than competing with existing businesses.
“Once again I ask the ABN Board of Directors, please, manage your event and let us do what we do -- SELL FOOD AND BEVERAGE,” she wrote. “I am not familiar with another charitable organization who sells the identical product at (the) same time at the same event in competition with the very businesses that you ask to support and fund your event.”
City staff recommends the council approve the Awesome Biker Nights committee's request to hold the event June 14-16 and temporarily close off portions of Fourth Street for the event, according to Monday’s council package.