Sioux City leaders plan agricultural expo project

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News,Business

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Northwest Iowa leaders hope to use a new tax incentive program to cover much of the $10 million cost of a proposed Sioux City development featuring a proposed 160,000-square-foot agricultural expo center.

The Sioux City Journal reported that (http://bit.ly/UDZ5Yb ) the complex would also likely include a hotel, restaurant and some retail.

City officials hope to qualify for Iowa's new Reinvestment District program that lets cities establish zones to divert future motel and sales tax revenue to projects that increase tourism and improve the quality of life.

The project would center on the proposed Bomgaars Ag and Expo Center that the founders of the Bomgaars retail chain pledged $500,000 for. That structure would include 50 to 60 hotel rooms and be able to host horse shows, trade shows and cattle auctions.

"We will be looking to add some unique elements to the project that we think will fit very well with the goals of the new state program," the city's economic development director, Marty Dougherty, said.

The project will be built on the site of the former John Morrell pork plant, a prominent location bordered by Interstate 29 and the Floyd River channel. The pork plant closed in 2010.

The 1950s-era slaughterhouse has already been torn down, and the site has been cleaned up thanks to a $2 million federal grant.

In the past, Sioux City has had some trouble in trying to develop the land. A pork processing company, Global Foods, announced plans in 2011 to build a $100 million plant on the site, but later canceled the project.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority oversees the new Reinvestment District program. In the first round, only three cities — Des Moines, Muscatine and Waterloo — presented projects to be considered.

Dougherty said Sioux City plans to submit an application in January for the next round of the state tax incentive program.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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