Happy New Year, everyone, may it be a happy and healthy 2021 for all of you. As you know we are still dealing with COVID-19, however the vaccines are being given, maybe not as quickly as we might want; it's happening. Please, get one when it is your turn if it is appropriate for you.
Over the centuries the city of Sioux City and private enterprise have spent millions of dollars making improvements to our community, not only to facades of existing buildings, to the downtown in general, the riverfront, parks and streetscapes to name a few.
Personally, I remember the Floyd River being moved after a devastating flood caused by a torrential rain that happened in Sheldon, Iowa causing the Floyd to leave its banks with a wall of water headed down the valley and wipe out the south bottoms of Sioux City. I happened to be with my dad that day and there are things from that flood that I will never forget. I was three years old, our office was right in the path of that wall of water.
The flood caused the city to do a flood control project to protect citizens, as well as revitalize the area. The flood not only took out homes, it heavily damaged the stock yards, an important part of our economy for years. Companies moved to accommodate the moving of the river, and new businesses located in the area and filled in where houses once stood. The area has been thriving since; new ones started in that area then and building and rehabbing buildings is occurring, today.
In 1964, the city, chamber of commerce, and other civic groups organized River-Cade, a week-long celebration of summer and Sioux City history. The event was held on the riverfront of the Missouri River, with a parade through downtown. Eventually, city and community leaders chose to improve the riverfront, making it attractive and a quality-of-life opportunity so people would come to the banks of the old Missouri and enjoy. What you see today is basically how it looked after being remodeled, with some beautiful additions such as playground equipment, the riverboat museum, gardens,and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
In the 1970s, the city began another urban renewal project in downtown Unfortunately, many buildings were torn down, some dating back to the 1800s and very well built. One of them was the former T. S. Martin building that was home to a beautiful department store, complete with a tea room and gorgeous and durable building materials. I remember people saying the wrong building was razed, it was so well constructed, it was difficult to take down. Nevertheless, the city's goal was to clean up downtown and make it attractive. Millions of dollars were invested and our city leadership continues to spend money to make the area a place that would draw businesses and people. Some dollars are tax dollars, more importantly private companies are spending millions too.
In more recent years, the city has invested millions of dollars on revitalization of West 7, Douglas Street, Historic Fourth, to name a few. For example, the West 7 project included new sidewalks, landscaping, and lighting, to name some improvements. Douglas Street, a public/ private partnership, was formed to put in a pocket park across from the Launch Pad.
My point in talking about all of the mentioned projects is, the city is spending millions trying to make our community appealing to young families, building quality-of-life parks and projects, and making our city beautiful and attractive for her citizens.
Then, Planing and Zoning allows metal buildings to be built that do not go with its surroundings. They have held local developers to a higher standards by making them cover the greatest majority of the metal building with a facade or camouflage it with trees, the large chains seem to get away with not having to cover up the larger portion of the entire building. Jackson Street did not have any metal buildings until one was built on the corner of Fourteenth and Jackson, the metal building in the ten hundred block of Court Street does not have any camouflage. The newest of metal buildings being built is at the corner of 18th and Pierce, on the fringes of downtown, again being built by a large chain. A brick building was torn down to make way for a large chain store.
Smaller communities in Northwest Iowa do a fantastic job with consistent building codes concerning the exterior of buildings. For example, if the community has a theme such as Orange City, building construction must adhere to the Dutch theme of the city. I have seen this across the country in various cities, such as Sioux Center, Iowa, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, for example.
The Sioux City Council is spending millions of dollars to enhance our community, however we lack the ability to require new metal buildings to add to the beautification of its surroundings.