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OUR OPINION: Council should pursue consultant study of bridge across Missouri River

OUR OPINION: Council should pursue consultant study of bridge across Missouri River

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Soon, the City Council will decide whether to pay consultant SmithGroup JJR Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, $59,000 for further study of a pedestrian bridge across the Missouri River between Sioux City and South Sioux City.

Our vote? Yes, pay the consultant.

From the beginning of talk about the future of the former Argosy casino riverfront site, we have advocated in this space for a public, patient, creative approach to what we believe is a milestone moment in community history. As we have said before, our city must get this right. Again today, we commend the city and its consultant for study and discussion undertaken and decisions made to this point and, in general, support the strategy for development of this site taking shape.

Throughout this process, we have advocated for imaginative vision and an iconic centerpiece. A pedestrian bridge spanning the Missouri River checks both of those boxes in dramatic fashion. Without question, a bridge would be an incredible addition to our local riverfront - a unique draw sure to produce local enthusiasm and widespread attention.

We understand concerns about cost and where the money would come from, but we support further exploration of including a pedestrian bridge in the overall riverfront plan. Perhaps it isn't doable for money or other reasons, perhaps something more doable will emerge in its place, but we believe this idea merits at least additional discussion, including study of cost and study of sources for money, such as grants, state and federal contributions, and private donations, so local property taxpayers wouldn't be overburdened by what likely would be a substantial pricetag. (Opened in 2008, the 3,000-foot Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge across the Missouri River between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska, cost $22 million).

Having a consultant undertake a deeper examination of the bridge would not lock the city in to a decision on whether to build it, but it would provide valuable additional information for consumption and consideration.

We urge the council to keep this dialogue alive.

Our Opinion editorials represent the consensus view of The Sioux City Journal editorial board. Members of the board include: Bruce Miller, editor; Michael Gors, editorial page editor; Dave Dreeszen; managing editor; Tim Hynds, chief photographer.

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