Thirty-six years after her death, Ruth Cone's dream of a new park in Sioux City becomes reality this week.

On Thursday, Cone Park - created on 10 acres of land near the IBP Ice Center and Lewis and Clark Park - opens to the public. In the beginning, amenities will include a day lodge, tubing hill, ice-skating pond (the skating rink, which will be ready sometime in January, will be converted to a splash pad for use in summer months) and snow-making equipment. A trail will connect Cone Park to Sertoma Park.

The project represents a significant, unique addition to our community's impressive, diverse system of parks. We have full confidence Cone Park will be a popular draw for both residents and visitors.

Again today, we commend the city and its Cone Park Design and Construction Advisory Committee for a deliberate, diligent process of study on a new park conducted over 11 years since Cone's gift of money was released to the city of Sioux City. Cone, who died in 1981, willed $200,000 to the city with the stipulation the money be used to build a new park; through investment, Cone's original gift has grown to almost $3 million. We applaud additional financial support for the $5 million project produced by both the public and private sectors.

Sustained economic growth should be a goal for this city and metro region because progress in the arena of economic development generates a spectrum of advantages through which all of us who live and work here benefit. One essential ingredient to progress and prosperity is quality of life.

Through Cone Park, local quality of life enjoys a consequential boost.

We join in community celebration of this wonderful new amenity. As we do, we reflect on the vision, civic spirit and generosity of Cone, who planted the seed for something this and future generations of families will enjoy.