Community feedback was at the center of a Sioux Center City Council discussion on Open Space Park master planning. The council spent nearly an hour sharing thoughts, reflecting on feedback, and hearing comments on three concepts regarding location of a proposed indoor turf facility and whether Heritage Village should stay in its current place or move to a new location, potentially to Tower Fields.
“I love the passion around these two things. There’s been a lot of great conversation,” Mayor David Krahling said. “What a great challenge that we have passionate people who care deeply about really cool things for the community. For me, the weighty thing is thinking far enough into the future; what is best for the long haul.”
Prior to the meeting, the council reviewed the 165 online responses to an Open Space Park feedback form and 140 written responses from an in-person open house, plus individual comments and letters.
“There is almost universal agreement that Option C is not the best long-term option,” said Councilman Eric Moerman. Option C would place Heritage Village and the turf facility next to each other.
He also noted that he was challenged by community members to give weight to cultural/recreational value of land use in considering its “highest and best use.” He asked whether some Open Space Park trees could remain where they are if Heritage Village moves. Councilman Dale Vander Berg noted that Heritage Village has funds to build a new museum, and they need to know where their long-term future is. Councilman Jamie Van Ravenswaay said the feedback reinforced that the decisions ahead will be difficult and not everyone will agree 100 percent with any outcome.
“Hopefully we can move forward, and in five years we can say this was really done well,” he said.
Several council members indicated they most leaned toward the long-term outlook of Concept B, which places the indoor turf facility in the current location of Heritage Village and moves Heritage Village to another location, potentially tower fields, noting that it seems to them to offer the best long-term location for the turf facility and opportunity for long-term growth for Heritage Village. A third concept, Concept A, would keep Heritage Village in its current location and locate the turf facility north of the existing football field.
Vreugdenhil asked about a timeline for Concept B. City Manager Scott Wynja said, if selected, this could involve planning in summer 2021, beginning to move the village buildings ideally after the Harvest Festival, and completing the dome mid-2022. If this is selected, Heritage Village’s move would take place over a few years.
The council did not take action or select a planning concept, indicating a plan to have further discussion and a decision at the next council meeting March 8.