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Sioux City Council approves settlement for water damage to Orpheum, downtown library
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Sioux City Council approves settlement for water damage to Orpheum, downtown library

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Wilbur Aalfs Library atrium interior

The atrium at the Wilbur Aalfs Library is shown in this January 2012 file photo.

SIOUX CITY -- The seating interior of the picturesque Orpheum Theatre was not at risk of damage when water flooded the basement five weeks ago.

The Sioux City Council in a Monday meeting approved a partial settlement of a tort claim involving a water main break that flooded the basements of the Orpheum Building and Wilbur Aalfs Library.

A water main broke in the 500 block of Pierce Street, where the Orpheum and library are on opposite sides of the street.

Wilbur Aalfs was closed to the public at the time of the water main break and remains closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A target date of Aug. 1 has been set to replace carpeting.

Mayor Bob Scott said the repairs were quickly done, and much more cheaply than in some instances of expensive damages that can take place when some home basements get flooded.

The break caused water to enter the library's basement, where the majority of the staff's offices are located. The cleanup efforts cost $13,459.

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Library Director Helen Rigdon previously told The Journal that the Mid-American Room, which is used for storage and also contains the library's high voltage transformers, was inundated with 3 to 4 feet of water.

Rigdon said extra desks and shelving got wet and had to be disposed of. Six boxes of books, which were being stored for The Friends of the Sioux City Public Library's annual book sale, were also lost.

ServiceMaster was contacted to do the mud and water cleanup in the basement of the Orpheum Building. The firm worked for three days pumping mud and water, mopping and running air fans and dehumidifiers to clean and dry the area out.

"This will be a partial payment for the loss as there remains a claim for some carpet replacement in one of the offices," city documents stated.

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