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Warrior/Davidson work begins

A ceremonial ribbon cutting was held on Tuesday to mark the beginning of a $73 million renovation of the Warrior Hotel and Davidson Building in the 500 block of Sixth Street into a combination hotel and residential/commercial/retail complex. The project is part of the city's proposed Reinvestment District Program, which also involves construction of an agriculture/recreation center at the former site of the John Morrell plant in the old stockyards area; redevelopment to residential and commercial use by Ho-Chunk Inc. of several former industrial buildings in the 100 block of Virginia Street; and construction of a hotel and parking ramp next to the city's downtown Convention Center.

Because we believe its vibrancy is vital to our community, we frequently use this space to champion downtown. Based on progress achieved in recent years, projects under way and projects planned for the future, we believe the best days for downtown lie ahead.

In our view, the Warrior/Davidson project alone will produce the level of transformative downtown change spawned by construction of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Keep your hands on the wheel

We supported, at a minimum, the Iowa Legislature's decision in 2017 to crack down on the menace of texting while driving by making it a primary offense. Because distracted driving is a national epidemic and because public safety is one of the primary responsibilities of government, we at the time also advocated for passage by state lawmakers of a ban on use of a hand-held cellphone while driving.

To this end, we commend introduction in the Legislature this year of a bill - described in a Journal Des Moines bureau story filed on Thursday - to require only hands-free use of mobile devices by drivers.

Sioux City retains NAIA tournament

At a news conference on Thursday, local leaders announced Sioux City's Tyson Events Center will continue to host the NAIA women's basketball championship tournament through at least 2024.

The city has been the host community for the Division II tournament since 1998. In April, the NAIA merged its two basketball divisions for men and women into single-division tournaments consisting of 16 teams after the 2020 season.

Through the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Championship each March, the NAIA Volleyball National Championship each December and, for two years, the NAIA Softball World Series, Sioux City and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics have formed a strong relationship we are pleased will continue because these events have become anticipated highlights of our local calendar and provide both direct and indirect benefits for our community.

No. 1 attraction for tourism

The Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa bestowed the 2019 "Outstanding Attraction" in a metro area award to Sioux City's Cone Park on Thursday.

Awards recognizing excellence in the tourism industry were given to both metro and rural areas in 13 categories at a ceremony in Altoona during the 2019 Iowa Tourism Conference.

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They're back

Competing bills to ban or regulate traffic cameras in Iowa are under discussion at the Statehouse again this year.

We have lost count of how many legislative sessions have devoted time to debate of traffic cameras, with no resulting action. Lack of consensus at the Statehouse on what to do about traffic cameras suggests to us a need for the Legislature to move on from this issue - at least until after courts in the state settle constitutional questions about the devices.

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