Sioux City riverfront

Sioux City hopes to draw more people into the area by making part of its riverfront more fun and interesting.

The city’s Chris Larsen Park sits next to a 15-acre lot that’s been vacant since a riverboat casino left the area four years ago.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore says there’s a lot of potential for the space, including bringing in an interactive fountain and a yoga lawn.

“It helps economic development, it attracts families, it keeps the people that are here in Sioux City,” Salvatore says. “I think right now you have this vacant eyesore along the interstate and it kind of gives people the impression of Sioux City.”

He says the city has a strong desire for recreation. They originally considered including a ferris wheel, but are now looking at other attractions.

“Davenport has, along the Mississippi, they have a ferris wheel,” Salvatore says. “We’ve talked to them. We’ve done some research, but we’re really trying not to copy anybody else with this project. We want it to be something special and unique.”

The city expects to start fundraising for the $14.5-million project in early 2019 and to break ground on the project in the spring of 2020. Officials are also asking Woodbury County to help leverage funds for development.

(Thanks to Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)