South Sioux City designated as new Nebraska Enterprise Zone

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South Sioux City designated as new Nebraska Enterprise Zone

South Sioux City has earned a designation as a state Enterprise Zone. The designation was announced by Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) during South Sioux City’s 2015 Business Awards Luncheon today.

“It’s my pleasure to designate South Sioux City as the State’s newest Enterprise Zone,” said Hicks-Sorensen. “This designation comes with the opportunity for South Sioux City to begin a new chapter of rebuilding and implementing sustainable and obtainable goals and objectives that result in economic growth and vitality.”

Partners in the effort include DED, the City of South Sioux City, Dakota County, South Sioux City Community Schools and Northeast Community College Center.

The Nebraska Enterprise Zone Act allows for five zones designated statewide. Once a zone is awarded it remains in effect for ten years. Enterprise Zones are defined as “economically distressed” areas with concentrations of high unemployment, poverty, and declining populations. The goal in designating Enterprise Zones is to work with those counties or communities that have specifically identified distressed areas and outlined detailed plans with goals and objectives to redevelop them.

The City is part of a multi-state regional hub that includes Sioux City, Iowa, a growing unincorporated Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, and North Sioux City, South Dakota. The area also is served by Interstate 29 and several small railway systems.

Dakota County poverty levels among families and individuals rose approximately 5 percent from 1999 to 2011 according to statistics highlighted in the 2014 Dakota County Plan. The percentage of families in poverty rose from 9.2 percent in 1999 to 14.2 percent in 2012. Impoverished individuals rose from 11.4 percent (1999) to 16 percent (2012). Interestingly, the county’s overall population grew 3 percent from 20,253 to 20,869 during the same time frame, and was one of few counties in the region not experiencing population decline.

With the goal to address the levels of poverty and employment that exist through the community, South Sioux City officials, with the help of Tami Bailey, City Grant Coordinator, developed a plan that incorporates key educational, employment, business development, recreational and safe housing strategies.

Provisions included:

  • Implementing a more aggressive approach to recruiting targeted businesses and industries for the city, incorporating attractive, shovel-ready land options with necessary infrastructure in the City’s industrial and commercial parks.
  • Addressing educational gaps in the community and at work places by more thoroughly preparing area employees and youth for additional training or college to enable them to qualify for higher wage jobs thereby reducing unemployment levels.
  • Dealing with aging and deteriorating infrastructure by visiting fire safety protection to ensure it’s up to code, providing localized flood protection, and making street and sewer and water infrastructure improvements citywide.
  • Revitalizing South Sioux City’s downtown district to attract new residents and reinvigorate the overall community.
  • Preparing a resource guide with specific self-help information and resources that is made available for all residents with the goal of helping improve the overall quality of life.

“The South Sioux City Enterprise Zone is a unique blend of great economic development plans, expanded community business and housing opportunities, and a positive tie to the educational community,” said Mayor Rod Koch. “It provides a real hope for revitalization to happen.”

The South Sioux City Enterprise Zone encompasses 11-1/2 square miles…everything within South Sioux City limits drawing a straight line from the Missouri River along Golf Road South curving back to the east until it links with Elgin Avenue then turning south and running a straight line across Highway 20 south to 164th Avenue, finally traveling east along 164th Avenue in a straight line, crossing G Street and continuing east to the Missouri River. The boundary then runs along the entire edge of the Missouri River, south to north, curving west along the river until it reaches the farthest northern point of origination: due north of Golf Road’s termination point.

“This program provides a focus for the community to move superior ideas into action,” said Lance Hedquist, City Administrator. “By incorporating much needed housing, public works, education and training into a single application, we have the prospect to motivate and advance the community even further. Tami Bailey did a tremendous job in combining community needs into one excellent package.”

“The Enterprise Zone will encourage future businesses to invest in our community and will provide jobs for our residents,” said Kelly Flynn, Director of Economic Development. “We have so many areas that will improve with these incentives, and this designation will help South Sioux City continue to flourish. We have always enjoyed working with DED on projects and we look forward to continued efforts and what this endeavor means.”

For information about the Enterprise Zone program, contact Walker Zulkoski at 402-432-8376, or email walker.zulkoski@nebraska.gov

CONTACT Kate Ellingson at 1-800-426-6505, 1-402-471-3749 or email kate.ellingson@nebraska.gov