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OUR OPINION: Keep study, discussion about bridge alive

OUR OPINION: Keep study, discussion about bridge alive

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As we have said before, we don't know if a pedestrian bridge across the Missouri River as part of riverfront development is doable, but we believe the idea is one worth additional study.

Matt Salvatore, the city's parks and recreation director, told us on Wednesday research and discussion will continue. The hope, he said, is leaders from Sioux City and South Sioux City meet on the topic again before the end of August.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Salvatore said leaders in South Sioux City support the idea of a pedestrian bridge and have expressed a willingness to provide an unspecified amount of money for its construction. He said leaders of the two communities met to discuss the subject on July 15.

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. Again today, we commend the city and its consultant for study and dialogue undertaken and decisions made to this point and, in general, support the strategy for development of this site taking shape. We urge the city to continue keeping the public informed and providing opportunities for citizen input as the multi-phase development of the riverfront moves forward.

Throughout this process, we have advocated for an iconic centerpiece. A pedestrian bridge spanning the Missouri River would be a unique draw sure to produce local enthusiasm and widespread attention.

We understand concerns about cost and where the money would come from, though. Additional information collected should include a cost estimate and potential 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.

We know of no one who suggests the city use taxpayer dollars to foot the entire bill for a bridge across the river.

"The intention is that local tax dollars not be used to fund a bridge other than required local matching funds and design fees," Salvatore told us.

Perhaps, in the end, the city determines this can’t be done for money or other reasons, but it should undertake a full, robust review of the concept - and hear from citizens - before making any decisions. We look forward to hearing more specific details as they emerge.

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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