Editor's note: For Thanksgiving, the five members of our editorial board offer five reasons, in no specific order, why we ourselves - as Sioux Cityans, Iowans and Americans - are thankful.

Local economic strength

Signs of economic vitality are evident throughout our metro region.

Consider these examples:

- The metro Sioux City unemployment rate was only 2.5 percent for October.

- In September, Merriam, Kan., based Seaboard Foods and St. Joseph, Mo., based Triumph Foods began production at a $300 million pork plant on 250 acres of Sioux City's Bridgeport West Industrial Park. To begin, the plant employs some 1,100 workers; addition of a second shift and another 900-plus workers is planned for next year.

- This year, developers have announced plans for renovation to multiple uses of the former Warrior Hotel building, the Davidson Building, the Commerce Building, a building most recently occupied by Hatch Furniture, the former Methodist Hospital building and the building most recently occupied by KCAU.

- Progress continues on a proposed Reinvestment District Program involving construction of an agriculture/recreation center at the former site of the John Morrell plant in the old stockyards area; redevelopment to residential and commercial use by Ho-Chunk Inc. of several former industrial buildings in the 100 block of Virginia Street; construction of a hotel and parking ramp next to the city's downtown Convention Center; and rehabilitation of the former Warrior Hotel building and Davidson Building in the 500 block of Sixth Street.

- For the fourth time in the last five years, the Sioux City metro region ranks first in the nation for economic development activity in areas with populations between 50,000 and 200,000, according to Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine's annual ranking.

Local quality of life

This is a key time in our community with respect to quality of life as work or discussion continues on multiple projects, including Cone Park (the park opens in December), expansion of trails, riverfront development, an agriculture/recreation center, The Arena sports complex, and more.

One essential component to the comprehensive, unified strategy necessary to retain and attract new residents, meet employment demands and produce economic growth is quality of life.

Local commitment to quality of life, within both the public and private sectors, generates confidence the Sioux City of tomorrow will be an even better place than it is today.

America's men and women in uniform

Respect and admiration for members of our armed forces - the world's finest - and the sacrifices they, and their families, make for all of us is something for which we are thankful each and every day.

As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your loved ones today, pause a moment in reflection of our servicemen and women who stand guard each and every day, around the clock, over our nation's security and freedoms. In particular, consider the tens of thousands of servicemembers who are deployed far from home in dozens of countries across the globe.

Local spirit of volunteerism

Again this year, we reflect in profound admiration at the giving nature of Siouxlanders.

According to the Corporation for National Community Service, 25.3 percent of Americans, or more than 62 million of us, volunteered 7.8 billion hours of time with an estimated value of $184 billion in 2015.

As area residents for many, many years, the members of our editorial board can attest to the fact this unselfish spirit of volunteerism is alive and well within the communities of Siouxland. Time after time, year after year, volunteers in this tri-state area rise to the occasion to meet a spectrum of civic and charitable needs, challenges and causes.

This blessing of a strong giving spirit speaks volumes about the character of our community and region.

America's farmers

It seems only right on this day when so many of us will sit down to an abundance of food on our holiday tables to share some words about the men and women of agriculture.

More than anywhere else, we in the nation's heartland understand and appreciate the value and importance of our nation's farmers - the most prolific producers of food on the planet - to our nation and, indeed, the world.

Today, the average American farmer produces enough food to feed about 155 people (farmersfeedingtheworld.org). Annual exports of U.S. agriculture products average about $140 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.



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