By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
NEAR SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (KTIV) -
Woodbury County's proposed industrial park may have reached a milestone Monday night, as members of its planning committee compromised on a controversial I-29 interchange near Salix, Iowa.
About a month ago, there was a proposal to move the Port Neal exit, up a few miles.
The thought was moving it would be too costly to the businesses and farmers that use it. Likewise, it was thought an exit further north was needed for Liberty Park to flourish.
Now the committee thinks they might be able to do both.
They're looking at remodeling Port Neal and adding an additional interchange about three miles north.
Getting the Iowa DOT on board to furnish it might be a big challenge.
"But if you look at the transportation corridors and some of the economic activity that we see in the area, we think that we might be able to make a compelling argument for two interchanges," said Terry Lutz, with McClure Engineering.
Affected land and business owner in the area, Dan Lee, has had a problem with moving the interchange from the beginning. He's happy with the compromise, but still has some concern over the rail way that's been proposed with it.
"The proposed rail tonight will not work where it goes. I doubt if the railroad would put it right there anyway. The proposed rail now goes right through my business and farm," said Lee.
Engineers of the park say they plan to make a case for the two interchanges in coming months.
To give you some background, Woodbury County leaders envision Liberty Park as a 2,700 acre industrial park between Sergeant Bluff and Salix.
It's core would be industries, but now officials are also mentioning possible commercial and retail space.
To make the park a reality, they need neighboring communities, Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff, and Salix to sign on as well as 50 landowners. At last check, they had about 350 acres secured.
Salix sent a letter about a month ago, saying they no longer support the park. Woodbury Country officials say they may change their mind now the controversy over Port Neal has been resolved.
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