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Newscast 7.2.2024: Grant money could help Sioux City flood victims; $3.8M contract approved to pave Sioux City trail; City gives $50K to shelter for people experiencing homelessness

A railway bridge that connects North Sioux City, South Dakota, to the Riverside area of Sioux City collapsed in late June 2024.
Steve Smith, Siouxland Public Media
A railway bridge that connects North Sioux City, South Dakota, to the Riverside area of Sioux City collapsed on June 23, 2024, into the Big Sioux River as it reached a record level of 45 feet.

A City of Sioux City division has created a program to provide up to $10,000 to assist owner-occupied households that have been impacted by flooding in the Riverside neighborhood.

The area was impacted in late June by flooding of the Big Sioux River.

Several Riverside residents spoke out about their frustrations of flooding during the Monday meeting of the Sioux City Council. Some criticized the city that no warning siren alerted people to the rising river, which reached a record level of 45 feet on June 23.

The new city program focuses on addressing such home pieces as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, electrical panels, and more. The program is funded by federal, state, and local sources, and the maximum grant is $10,000.

Neighborhood Services Division staff wearing city employee badges will start going door-to-door in Riverside on Tuesday to attempt to reach residents to see if they qualify.

All assistance is income based, with limits on a sliding scale based on household size. A family of four could not make more than $79,950 per year in taxable income. People who only receive Social Security benefits that are not taxed, would likely qualify.

Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened the first of two Disaster Recovery Centers in Northwest Iowa.

The first one opened Tuesday in Spencer, Iowa, in order to provide one-on-one assistance for people affected by the recent flooding and storms. A FEMA official told Siouxland Public Media News that more than 50 people had come to the event by 3 p.m.

The second Disaster Recovery Center will open on Wednesday, July 3, in Rock Valley in Sioux County.

Another event will be held in Spencer on Tuesday evening. The session is for kids on understanding their emotions following a natural disaster. The event will take place at 6:00 pm at Hope Church in Spencer.

Also in the Iowa Great Lakes, people are monitoring how some unwanted rain might impact lakes and rivers that are still very high. The National Weather Service reported that one inch of rain fell from Monday to 9 a.m. Tuesday, making for the highest spot in Siouxland over the past day.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is warning that the 4th of July holiday will be especially dangerous for boating on Iowa lakes and rivers, due to heavy rain and flooding, according to Explore Okoboji News.

In other news, the Sioux City Council approved a contract on Monday for adding six miles of recreational trail at a cost that was almost $2 million less than had been estimated.

The council approved a $3.8 million bid by Concrete Plus of Sioux City for the third phase segment of the PlyWood Trail that will connect Sioux City to Le Mars, city Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore said.

The estimated cost for the third phase, for the southmost segment from Sioux City to Hinton, was $5.5 million. The Concrete Plus bid was the lowest of eight received for the Plywood Trail segment, that will run from 46th Street in Sioux City to Hinton. The segment will be finished by the end of September.

Biking trail
Biking trails are an important piece of infrastrucure.

The trail costing roughly $23 million will be funded with grants and private contributions. It will be 19 miles in length, going at times near U.S. Highway 75 and the Floyd River.

Much of the first segment, from Le Mars to Merrill, is done. The last piece constructed will be the center segment, from Merrill to Hinton.

In other business before the city council, the members on a 4-1 vote approved directing $50,000 to The Warming Shelter, a non-profit agency which is the city’s sole emergency center for people experiencing homelessness.

Back in January, officials with the facility ran into financial difficulties, and asked the council to provide about $420,000 in funding to stay open.

Shayla Moore, executive director of The Warming Shelter in downtown Sioux City, at that time said it was “a real harsh reality” that the shelter could close without new funding, and have a derogatory impact on unhoused people.

The council in January did not vote on the financial asking by The Warming Shelter, but moved it to later in the spring when discussing next-year budget topics.

The council members at that time decided that a council vote in the summer would be necessary to give $50,000 to the shelter, and that was the vote that came Monday, in the first meeting of the new 2024-25 fiscal year.

The center opened as a non-profit entity in 2013 in a small space on the Sioux City Soup Kitchen, and eventually moved to 916 Nebraska Street.
It operates on a budget entirely made of donations, with a concerted decision not to rely on state or federal programs. On the coldest winter periods, from 130 to 150 people use The Warming Shelter.

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