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Woodbury County officials looking for $30 million for new I-29 interchange; Republicans DeSantis & Haley to campaign in Siouxland

Highway traffic
Highway traffic

Woodbury County officials are aiming to build a $30 million new Interstate 29 interchange south of Sioux City, in order to handle the growth of businesses in that area.

The project pitched nearly a decade ago has received a go ahead from the Iowa Department of Transportation, and now the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors is trying to find substantial revenue streams to pay for it.

The county supervisors have begun a process to apply for some sizable federal grants, as in their weekly meeting this week they authorized County Engineer Mark Nahra to begin the process of hiring a grant writer consulting firm to go after money.

Supervisor Keith Radig said the county will get federal lawmakers to provide letters of support for the Interstate 29 project. Nahra will also speak on the project’s importance at the October 10 meeting of the Iowa Transportation Commission in Okoboji.

Radig said the I-29 exit project “should be a lock for one of these federal grants.”

The Southbridge Industrial area located near Sergeant Bluff along I-29 continues to grow, which is why the county sought a new exit to help industrial traffic.

It could cost the county about $60,000 to hire a federal grant writing consultant. The supervisors are also considering using tax-increment financing for the I-29 exit.

After a recent dry period without many 2024 presidential candidates speaking in the Sioux City metro area, two Republican Party candidates will have area appearances through Monday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will have an event at 10 a.m. Monday at in downtown Le Mars, at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, which is a popular campaign spot for presidential candidates.

DeSantis is among a group of 2024 Republican candidates who are trying to get traction to move ahead of the polling leader, former President Donald Trump. He came to Siouxland twice back in May, first at Sioux Center, then later in the month in Salix.

Additionally, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley will speak at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Yockey Center of Morningside College in Sioux City. Haley is a former governor of South Carolina.

The most recent presidential candidate speaking near the metro was more than a month ago, when Tim Scott had an event in Le Mars. There were no campaign events over the month of September.

The pace of campaign visits is expected to pick up over the remainder of 2023. That’s because the important first-in-the-nation presidential candidate winnowing contest for Republicans comes with the Iowa Caucuses in January 2024.

The Nikki Haley campaign stop is not affiliated directly with Morningside University, but a separate college-sanctioned event is taking place on campus there on the weekend.

On Saturday, a college plaza will be dedicated to former university president John Reynders. People are invited to the event, at 11:30 a.m., on the recently-constructed Reynders Plaza near the arch on the Morningside University campus.

The Reynders Legacy Project was created to honor his 23-year tenure at Morningside, which ran through 2022. The project involved spending $1.3 million for the construction of a new front entrance including an arch and plaza, as well as a remodel of the Lewis Hall lobby.

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