The Arena rendering

The above rendering shows the southwest corner and side of The Arena, a multi-sport recreational facility that is planned.

SIOUX CITY | Jeff Carlson, Mike Hesse and Dustin Cooper didn't want to see Sioux City fall behind with the athletic opportunities it offers local youth.

So the trio, who all used to play basketball at Sioux City colleges, drew up a plan to build a multi-sports complex in the city's former stockyards.

That plan will become a reality this year, as construction is slated to begin on the $13 million project over the summer, next to the city of the proposed Bomgaars Ag Expo Center. 

Called The Arena, the more than 80,000-square-foot youth sports complex will include courts for basketball and volleyball, batting cages, a turfed area, weight room, media room, classrooms, locker rooms and outdoor patio seating. The main court for events and championship games will seat up to 3,000 people and will be capable of holding events ranging from little league games to Division I college basketball games.

Jeff Carlson


Mike Hesse


Dustin Cooper


"We feel this is going to be a complete game-changer for Siouxland athletics," Carlson said. "This puts us on the same playing field with other kids in like communities." 

Carlson has said the still-in-development project will have a feel comparable to the MidAmerica Center in Council Bluffs and the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, although it will be smaller than the latter. The venue will serve local rec teams and youth tournaments for teams locally and throughout the tri-state region.

"We want to make the dreams of the kids in our community a reality, and through this building we're going to do that," Carlson said. 

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The complex will have a general concession area on the first floor and feature an eating and viewing area upstairs with more menu items. That area also will have televisions that can feature national games or closed-circuit video of games occurring inside the venue.  

Located in the city's former stockyards, the venue will bring a new look to the area along with the planned Bomgaars Ag Expo Center. The three partners would run the Arena under HCC Enterprises LLC.

The city earlier this month entered into a development agreement that will provide the Arena with more than $1.5 million in assistance through an economic development grant. 

The trio also presented the first renderings of the project to the City Council, showing the plans for the multi-level facility that will feature glass windows looking out toward Interstate 29 on the southwest side. 

"This will be the first thing you see as you're driving into Sioux City," Carlson said. "We're incredibly pleased with how this turned out, and the entrance to Sioux City will be epic."

The project has grown since its original inception, requiring it to be re-situated on the spot of land where it will be located. The project will begin later this spring with the re-routing of South Lafayette Street to the west side of the property to allow room for the expanded building.

That will be completed prior to the rest of the project to allow continued access to the existing businesses to the south. The road will be constructed by HCC Enterprises and dedicated back to the city.

Construction on the road is expected to begin in April or May, with work on the complex to begin in July or August and conclude in summer 2019.

When complete, The Arena is expected to complement the Bomgaars Ag Expo Center through events and parking. 

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