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SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- A federal agency on Wednesday awarded South Sioux City a $2.2 million grant for construction of a 2.5 million-gallon water storage tank in the Roth Industrial Park.

The project is expected to lead to the creation of 145 jobs and generation of $145 million in private investment, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, which awarded the grant through its Economic Development Administration.

"With the increase in economic and housing initiatives in South Sioux City, this project is extremely important to the ongoing health and quality of services the local community offers," South Sioux City Mayor Rod Koch said.

The new tank will be tied into the city's existing water system to boost the city's water storage capacity and will be built on city-owned land in the industrial park. Located on the city's south side, Roth Industrial Park is home to major industries such as empirical foods, formerly known as Beef Products Inc., Tyson Fresh Meats, Omega Industries and Big Ox Energy.

Other industries that will be locating in the industrial park will be publicly announced soon, South Sioux City city manager Lance Hedquist said. One of those industries will use 600,000 gallons of water daily.

"The demands on our water system are really strong," Hedquist said.

The grant will pay half of the project's cost. Hedquist said the city's $2.2 million share of the project, which has been in the works for about a year, will be paid with utility fees. The city also is hoping to secure other grant funding to lessen the cost to South Sioux City residents. Construction of the water tower should begin in spring 2020, Hedquist said.

The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council, or SIMPCO, has been instrumental in planning efforts.

"This grant and the jobs awaiting its use are examples of the importance of infrastructure improvements to growing our economy. Water infrastructure is of particular importance to industries across Nebraska, and I commend the leadership and people of South Sioux City and Dakota County for recognizing and acting upon this need," U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., said in a news release.

The water tower will serve not only industries in the area, but the city's expanding housing market. The increased water storage capacity will also benefit fire protection for the industries located in the industrial park, Hedquist said.

"I think South Sioux City is poised to have great industrial development in our area," he said. "This grant helps with that development and helps keep rates down for the citizens of our community."

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