Kansas town hopes to draw from Siouxland's successes
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- "We are a cow town with an opera house. We always have been and always will be," says Siouxland Chamber President Debi Durham.
That's how Durham describes Sioux City as she touts Siouxland's successes to a group from Salina, Kansas.
Sioux City's adopted the slogan of "surprising and successful," and today local leaders got a chance to show more than twenty Chamber members from Salina, that our area lives up to its name.
The group toured several areas of Siouxland to see what they can learn from our successes.
Salina is like much Sioux City with strong roots in agriculture as well as manufacturing. The community of around 50,000 people in central Kansas is trying to become more of an attractive community for young people and families.
The Salina Chamber looked closely at four key areas of Siouxland, including community development, economic development, education and quality of life, which includes the arts.
A bus took the group from Sioux City's Whispering Creek housing development to Historic Fourth Street and around the planned development near the Perry Creek Trail.
Leaders from Salina say it's important for them to actually visit a different community to see progress in action.
"We're just trying to look at other communities and see how they address some of the issues that all communities have. What they've done differently than what we're doing and try to learn from their success and if they've had failures try to learn from those failures so we don't make the same mistakes," said Salina business owner Troy Vancil.
Members of the Salina Chamber also visited sites in North Sioux City and South Sioux City to look at their economic successes.
Jobs are often a big reason people decide to move to a city, but outside of work, those people need something to do.
While showing a group from the Salina, Kansas Chamber of Commerce around downtown Sioux City, Siouxland Chamber leaders tried to paint the district as vibrant and full of life. With that in mind, a few members of the Salina Chamber took a look around the Tyson Events Center and the Long Lines Rec Center.
Salina is also trying to shake a reputation as a town with nothing going on and Siouxland Chamber President Debi Durham says there's a lot they can learn from us even if we still have a ways to go.
"We're also in transition but we have a plan and that plan's been developing. I think they'll see places like the Historic Fourth Street district because that's pretty well developed out, but then they'll also see the West End, and here's an area that needs some work and here's the plan. But if you come back five years from now, you'll see this area's also been revitalized," Durham said.
Salina's chamber president is no stranger to Siouxland. Dennis Lauver served our chamber as a lobbyist about 20 years ago, and says the changes going on in Siouxland have been amazing.
"The continued development in downtown Sioux City and the riverfront, the changes to Dakota Avenue in South Sioux City have been profound. The expansion of the retail base and the manufacturing community across all three states is what we want to talk about," Lauver said.
And that's why the Siouxland Chamber is so proud. It's not just the success of Sioux City, South Sioux or North Sioux -- it's the whole region.
Today's group also took a look at the Art Center and the Orpheum. Thursday, they'll tour Sioux Falls.