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Orpheum Theatre back to normal operations, downtown Sioux City Public Library still without water pressure following Tuesday main break

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It's not a full return to "business as usual" for some buildings one day after a downtown water main break near the intersection of Fifth and Pierce streets.

While Orpheum Theatre Board of Directors President David Bernstein said that a temporary repair was able to let the venue reopen, without any threat to the Thursday night showcase of legendary doo-wop groups, Sioux City Library Director Helen Rigdon said there still wasn't any water pressure in the downtown location as of Wednesday morning.

"We’ve been trying to get the city to put in a new water main, for years they've been aware of this. It’s just one block and it keeps breaking over and over again. It's just frustrating," Bernstein said over the phone.

During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Sioux City Public Works Director David Carney said the 110-plus-year-old cast-iron water main has seen at least three breaks in the past year or so (with two of those being right in front of the Orpheum). The latest incident forced a segment of Pierce Street to winnow down to one lane to accommodate the repair work. On Wednesday, crews remained.

Carney said the city intends to replace the water main but bids on the project were rejected after they came in 50% higher than the city had estimated so the work likely won't be done until 2023.

Until such work is finished at the library, which will likely require plumbers, Rigdon said the Aalfs branch doesn't have working toilets or available water as outside temperatures now routinely threaten to push above 90 degrees.

"It’s sad that it happened at this time of year, we have Summer Reading going on with lots of kids and families," Rigdon said.


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