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Awesome Biker Nights Parade

Bikers and spectators gather before the Awesome Biker Nights parade in downtown Sioux City on June 6. A number of out-of-town motorcyclists attracted to the rally have camped on the grounds of the Ickey Nickel Bar & Grill. But a city enforcement code violation forced the bar on Highway 75 North to shut down its campground Monday night. 

SIOUX CITY – City inspectors forced the Ickey Nickel Bar & Grill to close its campground early Monday morning.

The city's notice last week that the property was not zoned properly for camping came out of the blue, Carla Hansen, general manager of the Ickey Nickel, said.

Hansen said the bar has allowed camping on its property for the six years the business has been owned by Mick Verzani. Hansen believed the property was properly zoned for camping when Verzani purchased it.

“We’ve had events here for years with camping, and no one has complained,” Hansen said. “We spoke to the previous owner and they never had any problems with this.”

Anne Westra, communications and public engagement specialist for the city, said Tuesday the Ickey Nickel is an active enforcement case. She said the city's legal department could not comment on it at this time.

Hansen said the Ickey Nickel is working with the city to try and clear things up. They hope to legally allow camping again soon.

“We’re just seeing what we can do and what’s going on,” she said.

If the business had not shut down its campground by Monday night, it could have faced a fine.  

The campground has been especially popular during the annual Awesome Biker Nights. The downtown rally on Historic Fourth Street attracts motorcyclists from around the region.

Hansen said the bar values the campground for the safety it provides bar-goers.

The enforcement action comes as city officials continue to plan for the first public campground within the city limits. 

In mid-2016, the city viewed preliminary site designs for a 52-space campground at 3400 Sioux River Road near the Big Sioux River, but the city later ran into problems acquiring the necessary land from private owners.

The City Council then moved the project back, instructing staff to continue exploring alternate locations. Last year, in its capital improvement budget, the city allocated some funding in fiscal 2022 for a campground on city-owned land to the south of the Siouxland Expo Center. Local leaders will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for the expo center, which will be built at the site of a former pork plant.

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