Officials involved in a western Iowa expo center project say the venue could bring tourism to the region. They are encouraging a county to stay committed to the effort.
Woodbury County officials talked last week about reconsidering their $1.5 million in financial support to the $11 to $12 million venue that could bring farm and trade shows to the community.
Sioux City Economic Development Director Marty Dougherty told county officials Tuesday how the planned 100,000 square foot Siouxland Expo Center has evolved in scope and size and how it could bring more people to the area. He emphasized the importance of the county’s support on the project.
“Any loss or pull-back on the county’s side would probably cause us to have to cut out some square feet or something,” he said.
The venue was originally going to be a 75,000 square foot space focused on equestrian events. The project has since changed to a larger agricultural expo center with lower costs than original projections.
Dougherty says the Siouxland Expo Center, which is expected to be 100,000 square feet in size, could attract a skilled workforce and could help the region compete with large nearby out-of-state cities.
“We need more people to move to Iowa and we need more skilled workers, families and young professionals and these are the kinds of things that they want,” he told Iowa Public Radio.
It’s an effort to grow the community, he said.
So far, 39 businesses have donated $3 million in funds to the project.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors Chair Rocky De Witt said he is not sure what the county will do going forward.
“The project looks a little more solid and at least the county board now has an idea of what the final project is probably going to look like and the uses for it, so I feel better about that,” De Witt said.
Construction on the expo center is expected to start in summer 2019.