North Sioux City water tower

The old North Sioux City water tower is slated for demolition within the next week.

Residents appeared before the North Sioux City City Council Monday, April 19 to ask about soil testing they have seen in an area they thought could not be built upon.

In an attempt to bring in affordable housing to the community, the Housing and Redevelopment Corporation (HRC) is looking at city-owned property for the possibility of construction. The city owns a portion of land off North Main Street near the Big Sioux River levee and conducted some soil testing to see whether it could be possible to build there.

Bob Davis, Pat Minor and Cathy Berg spoke to the council about the history of the area and how no development was supposed to take place there due to its proximity to the Graham Airfield’s runway. Davis also opposed any type of homes being built there because of the possibility of children playing and drowning in the river.

City Council member Joan Christiansen, also on the HRC, informed the residents that they were only looking at the area as a possibility and everything is only preliminary as they looked for available land for affordable housing.

“We [the HRC] were looking for an area that we might be able to put in some affordable Governor’s Houses,” Christiansen explained. “We would like to help young people get their first house and get started at a reasonable price. This piece of land is owned by the city. Some of it is in a flight zone and some of it is not. We are in the very initial stages of this thing. We don’t know how we’re going to come out on anything. As we found out, part of it is in the flight zone and part of it is not. We’re aware that, years ago when the Sioux Bridge was replaced, a lot of rip-rap, concrete and steel and stuff was buried in that area. We got Certified Testing to come and do tests on the area that wasn’t in the flight zone... but the tests, initially, have not come back good. We haven’t got the full report on that yet. So, it’s kind of off the radar right now and I don’t think anything is going to happen.”

North Sioux City Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Andrew Nilges gave the council a report on business retention and expansion within the city. He said, in the past, businesses visited were mainly the larger employers within the city, but this time they added smaller employers at the council’s request. They completed 26 visits – 13 each with larger and smaller employers. Ten of 13 larger companies reported that their product is either growing or emerging and they have introduced new products within the last three years. Three companies reported their products are maturing. None of the companies reported a decline in the products they offer. Six of 13 smaller companies said they have introduced new products or services in the last three years. Of all the companies interviewed, a majority reported that their sales are increasing; others are stable and only one reported a decline.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.