SIOUX CITY | Two large private donations totaling $75,000 will fund a pair of new amenities at Sioux City's soon-to-open Cone Park. 

The Sioux City Council on Monday approved pledges of $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City and local couple Greg and Teri Grupp. 

The Hard Rock's donation will cover lighting and sound equipment for late-night "twilight tubing" on the park's winter tubing hill, while the Grupps' will fund the construction of a fire pit outside the park's day lodge. The Hard Rock and the Grupps will also receive naming rights to the respective additions. 

The planned twice-weekly "twilight tubing" events will feature multi-color LED light shows set to music on the park's tubing hill. Parks and Recreation staff envision the event would take place 9 to 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and special occasions during the winter.

According to park admission fees approved by the council, tickets would cost $10 for the two-hour session, said Parks and Recreation Director Mark Salvatore.


The fire pit will be located near the day lodge and skating rink and will be accessible by sidewalk.  

City Council members on Monday voiced strong appreciation for both donations. 

"The ability for private (sector) and city to work together to make improvements and add amenities to the city that enhance quality of life is really important to the community," said Councilman Pete Groetken.


Councilwoman Rhonda Capron said without donations like those from the Hard Rock and the Grupps, Cone Park would not have some of the features it does.   


"Without these people helping us out, we wouldn't have some of this stuff," Capron said. "This is going to be a big year for Cone Park, and I'm real excited to see it happen."  

Located on a spacious field east of Sioux City's IBP Ice Center parking lot, Cone Park will feature a tubing hill, refrigerated ice skating, 1.5-mile trail, fire pit and the day lodge.

The park is named for the late philanthropist Ruth Cone, whose family in 1981 established a trust for a new park that has grown to $2.9 million. Weather permitting, the park will open in mid-December. 

Rescue agencies commended

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Moore on Monday issued a commendation to the local law enforcement and rescue agencies involved in the retrieval of a car and three bodies that plunged into the Missouri River Oct. 16

The 2001 Honda Civic, carrying two adults and a 16-year-old girl, traveled into the river shortly before 4:20 p.m. and went underwater.

Kirby Kaufman

Over the next five days, authorities battled strong currents and low visibility to locate the vehicle using sonar, form a plan to reach it and complete a high-risk dive Oct. 21 that resulted in the retrieval of the vehicle and identification of the three bodies inside.   

"You are all to be applauded and thanked, and that's what makes Sioux City such a great city, is what you have all done," Moore said, leading the audience in a standing ovation. 

Moore made the presentation in the absence of Mayor Bob Scott, who typically issues commendations at meetings. 

Water rate agreements

In other action, the council voted to raise 2018 water rates for the communities of South Sioux City and Dakota Dunes by 8.5 percent and 4.42 percent, respectively.

Sioux City has had waterworks agreements with Dakota Dunes and South Sioux City for the purchase of water since 2002 and has a formula for adjusting the rates each year. The last rate adjustment was in 2016. A 2017 rate adjustment was deferred in November of last year