Downtown Sioux City park proposal hits a road block - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Downtown Sioux City park proposal hits a road block

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - A project four years in the making at a church in downtown Sioux City is close to crossing its final hurdle in beginning construction.

Shepherd's Garden, a park proposed for the lot adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church at sixth and Nebraska, is about 20 thousand dollars away from hitting their 850 thousand dollar fundraising goal, but they're sitting with hands tied at the moment.

But what may look like a broken down concrete lot is much more, according to those with big plans for the open space.

"Something needs to be done with the lot. We have a need between Mercy Medical Center and the church. One very appropriate use for that lot would be to have this contemplative garden," Bill Stoneburg, Shepherd's Garden board member.

And a group of people in Sioux City intend to make the empty lot at 6th and Jackson street just that.

"Someone could go freely from the hospital or anywhere downtown, they could have lunch, just a quiet beautiful green spot," Stoneburg said.

The ball started rolling on Shepherd's Garden park back in 2010. Now, four years and 830 thousand dollars later, the empty lot has had some contracting work done, and is ready for the final steps in the makeover.

"Going back to June of 2010, this has all been done with donations. Everything that we've done has been paid for," Stoneburg said.

But construction may not start as soon as the Shepherd's Garden board originally thought.

"We're in a bit of a delay pattern," Stoneburg said.

Early in 2014, the board learned of a grant they may qualify for through the Vision Iowa program.

Vision Iowa contributes funds to projects across the state, such as the Tyson Events center. But the proposal made by the Shepherd's Garden board to the Vision Iowa board hasn't been granted yet, and that means construction can't start yet.

"They said, 'don't do any more work until you hear what you're going to get from us, if anything,'" Stoneburg said.

Stoneburg says that if construction is held much past May first, the project may have to be put off until next year.

Regardless of whether or not the grant is approved by Vision Iowa, Shepherd's Garden board members say they'll get the funding they need, one way or another, because turning all of this into something beautiful for the community to enjoy is a mission they want to accomplish.

"Some of the families of folks in the hospital, and even some of them that can move around and so on, could enjoy this nice garden. So we think there's a need there, and it's a part of the mission of the church and the hospital to help with that," Stoneburg said.

Help that they say will come, in just a matter of time.

The Vision Iowa board has a meeting coming up in April, but no word yet on whether or not they'll decide to award the grant to Shepherd's Garden at that time.

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