SIOUX CITY | For months, downtown moviegoers circled around the machinery, upturned dirt and chain-link fencing at a construction zone directly outside Promenade Cinema 14.
Now, the barriers are down and the project is complete, providing some more green to the Fourth Street area while reducing storm water runoff.
Sioux City on Friday dedicated the Promenade improvements project, a more than $400,000 initiative funded in part by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship that has added native vegetation to the area along with a handful of water quality elements.
Concluded in late September, the project has eliminated half the concrete paving and replaced it with various elements including bio-retention cells -- landscape elements that capture and treat storm water runoff -- as well as tree trenches and soil quality restoration.
"This reduces the amount of storm water that goes into our city's infrastructure," environmental services analyst Melissa Campbell said Friday. "They also work to filter out some of those nutrients and pollutants that would otherwise go to our water waste."
The project, originally slated for completion in late July, was delayed about two months to allow crews to complete additional concrete removal and other minor tasks and additions, she said.
Design and construction of the project cost $415,333.50, approximately $68,000 of which was covered by grant funds through the Iowa Department of Land Stewardship's Water Quality Initiative Program. Sioux City's project was one of 13 in Iowa that received grants.
The city had received a total of $80,000 from the state and, due to lower-than-anticipated costs at the Promenade, used the remaining $12,000 for a separate water quality project at a new parking lot at the Riverside Soccer Complex.
Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey attended Friday's ribbon cutting to praise the city's proactive water quality effort, as well as those being instituted by farmers and cities around the state.
"Look at what a beautiful space this all is here," he said. "As it all greens back up in the spring and we have a fountain running, this is going to be an area that's going to attract a lot of folks."
Northey said he also believes people from other cities interested in learning about urban water quality initiatives will come to visit. He likewise invited the community to come see it in action.
"It's probably not something you'll do, but come during a rain storm," he said. "Come and see how it looks. There's a lot of neat, interesting features."
Educational signage expected to be posted soon will include information about the various features work and assist with reducing water pollution.
Campbell said the plants should continue to grow in the spring and fill in the area. The plants are native, including prairie dropseed, side oats gramma, beardtongue, pale purple coneflower, prairie blazing star, prairie phlox, white false indigo and yellow coneflower.