City council members would like to engage public feedback on options for the future use of portions of Open Space Park, specifically the location of Heritage Village and a proposed indoor turf facility.
As they consider three proposed concepts, which range from having both Heritage Village and a turf facility on the Open Space site to having one or the other move to a different location, the council is proposing a community open house in early 2021.
“We want to create some dialogue, and an open house is a forum where you can have discussion back and forth,” Councilmember Dale Vander Berg said. “We’re looking to make a decision for Sioux Center not for tomorrow, but for 10, 20, 25 years from now.”
Three Concepts for Open Space Park
Matt Carlile, of Confluence, shared the three concepts with the council and discussed the pros and cons of each. He noted that they were developed after multiple conversations with the Heritage Village Board, Parks Board, Joint Use Committee (which represents the City, Dordt University, and Sioux Center schools), and other community members.
The first concept places the indoor turf facility and parking north of the football field and practice field, replacing two existing recreation softball/baseball diamonds there. Heritage village would remain in the same location, with added commercial-type development in the current fairgrounds footprint.
Pros for this concept include leaving Heritage Village as it is today, less visual impact of the dome, a good link with the new high school campus, and quicker ability to develop (less buildings to move). Cons include having to relocate the rec. baseball/softball fields, limited expansion capability for Heritage Village, potential neighborhood impact, and a longer distance from Dordt University.
The second concept suggests moving Heritage Village to a new site, placing the indoor turf facility and its related parking in the current Heritage Village area, and adding a park space where the fairgrounds currently sit.
Pros for this concept include being close to Dordt University, good option for shared parking, proximity to other sports facilities, not moving the rec. baseball/softball fields. Cons include that Heritage Village must be relocated, slower development due to moving buildings, and trees near Heritage Village would not likely be able to remain. Another consideration is that relocating Heritage Village would give it room to grow.
The third concept would place the indoor turf facility just east of the existing football field and track, using some of the Heritage Village space, but leaving most of Heritage Village in its current location.
Pros for this concept include keeping Heritage Village in its current location, proximity to Dordt University and nearby athletic facilities, and shared parking for Heritage Village and the turf facility. Cons include the relocation of some Heritage Village buildings, the potential visual impact of the tall dome on Heritage Village, landlocking Heritage Village for future growth, and north/south orientation for the dome, which is not ideal due to wind load.
Engaging community feedback in decision
The council did not move toward a decision, but instead discussed what information was still needed, such as cost estimates to relocate Heritage Village buildings, and how to engage public feedback.
“There are going to be differences of opinion, and I want to promote thoughtful, civil, rational weighing of pros and cons,” said Mayor David Krahling. “This body needs to commit itself to listening, being thoughtful, and making a good, best long-term decision.”
The council discussed working with the Heritage Village Board and the Joint Use Committee to lead an open house together in early 2021. A date has not yet been set.
Krahling noted that getting to discuss amenities like Heritage Village and an indoor turf facility are a luxury that not every community has.
“Because we are thriving, because we have momentum, we get to consider things like this,” Krahling told the council. “It’s a challenge, and we’re going to move forward and talk about it openly, with input, and, at some point, make a good decision.”
The concepts are online for public viewing at www.siouxcenter.org/openspace