As engineers begin to sketch out Highway 75 improvements, Sioux Center is going to take a careful look to ensure the design fits the community’s needs and identity.
“This is a once in a generation investment in our community,” said Mayor David Krahling after last week’s City Council meeting. "It is important that we seek the insight of design professionals who can help us explore options, solicit input from various stakeholder groups and arrive at an ideal solution."
Landscape architecture and planning firm Confluence representative Jon Jacobson told the council Highway 75 in Sioux Center is a community gateway, a major corridor, and everybody who lives here is going to use it. How it looks and works sends a message.
“These types of improvements can have a big impact on what people perceive your community can do as far as its growth,” he told the council.
Confluence will work with DGR, lead engineering firm on this project, and the community to generate ideas and create a master plan to carry Sioux Center’s identity through Highway 75 improvements.
“We specialize in engaging the community,” Jacobson said. “We like to continue that throughout the process.”
Master planning will take a careful look at how each part of the highway is used and how to reflect Sioux Center better. For example, Jacobson said, in downtown Sioux Center there are opportunities to make it a more positive experience for pedestrians and to improve the storefront spaces.
Master planning will look at where medians and crosswalks can be and what they look like, how to prepare for natural plantings like trees and flowers so they thrive, and how to design signs and lights. This master plan may also offer ways to carry that identity beyond just the highway, offering ideas that can be used in future years.
"Of the hundreds of decisions the city council might make over the course of the next year, preparing our central corridor for the future may well endure the longest and have the greatest potential to impact the community’s future," Mayor Krahling said.
Currently, the Highway 75 improvements are in the design phase. Last year, the Iowa DOT committed more than $20 million to improve the local corridor, replacing aging pavement and changing it to an enhanced 4-lane roadway from 20th Street South to 12th Street North. The project is being designed to improve the functionality, safety, and appeal of Sioux Center’s main corridor.
Construction is slated for 2023-24.