Sioux City riverfront development rendering

A rendering by Madison, Wis.-based SmithGroupJJR shows a conceptual design for the Sioux City riverfront site formerly occupied by the Argosy casino.

SIOUX CITY | Plans to develop Sioux City's riverfront into an eye-catching destination park could enter the design phase this week.

Pending City Council approval, the next step in the years-long process to renovate the former Argosy Casino site would put schematics to a preliminary "master plan" unveiled last year. 

The council will vote Monday whether to award a $124,500 consulting services agreement to Madison, Wisconsin-based SmithGroup JJR Inc. for surveying, schematic design and administration services connected to the planned project at the former site of the Argosy Casino. 

The city has set a budget of about $12 million for the development project, according to the agreement. 

"We're just happy to be kicking off the design," Parks and Recreation director Matt Salvatore said. "Before, it was all just conceptual."

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Matt Salvatore

Salvatore

SmithGroup JJR unveiled concept art last year for the riverfront. The city had initially paid the company $45,000 for its services.

Drawings in the plan included an interactive fountain, sport courts, overlooks, a dog park, a yoga lawn, restrooms, added parking and other amenities. Iconic features included a Ferris wheel and a pedestrian bridge spanning the Missouri River into South Sioux City. 

Salvatore said the pedestrian bridge and Ferris wheel will take a backseat during the schematic design process. He said the city would like to work the rest of the amenities in, but it will depend on cost. 

"The pedestrian bridge is a pipe dream, and it's nothing they're going to be focusing on," Salvatore said. "The Ferris wheel probably doesn't require much design."

The new agreement up for a vote Monday will cover costs for surveying, a refined design and the administration of input meetings. SmithGroup JJR will also produce partially completed construction plans.

The designs will include further input from a steering committee that includes representatives of city departments, the council and the public. The design process will also include public input meetings.

If all goes according to plan, the earliest the project would begin will be following the completion of Interstate 29 in 2020, Salvatore said. 

Councilman Dan Moore, the council's representative on the steering committee, said he's excited for progress on the project and believes entering the design phase now will leave plenty of time for information gathering.

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Dan Moore

Moore

"This gives us plenty of time to design it right and get public input," Moore said. "The public input will be critical as to how we're designing this."

Salvatore said the steering committee plans to begin some fundraising later in the year and has identified potential grants to help with the project. 

Cone Park fees, skating rink

In other action Monday, the council will vote on two items relating to the all-seasons Cone Park, set to open in December next to the IBP Ice Arena. 

The council will vote on plans and specifications for the proposed 5,400 square-foot splash pad that will double as an ice skating rink, as well as proposed fees for the park.

Originally, city officials planned to rely on Mother Nature to freeze the outdoor rink. But Salvatore said the project recently received significant donations to upgrade from natural ice to refrigerated. He declined to reveal the donor or donors at this time.

Construction of the rink includes chillers, glycol pumps and in-slab piping. The addition of refrigeration will add about $300,000 to the Cone Park project cost. In total, grants and donations for refrigeration total $204,200, according to Monday's council agenda.

The council will then vote on proposed fees for the park. Fees recommended earlier this month by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board include both skating and tubing at the park for four-hour time slots. They will range from $7 to $10 a person, with low-income fees at 80 percent of the cost. 

Based on a survey of tubing hills in the Midwest that offer snow-making, the city would have the second-lowest admission fees in the region. 

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City hall reporter

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