Road to Building Hard Rock Just Got Smoother

(SIOUX CITY, IA) The road to building a new casino in Sioux City just got a bit smoother.
But some neighbors aren't happy about it.

The city council voted to chip in about $22 million to help with infrastructure like water and sewer and to make some changes to Pearl Street.

Here's what was approved:

Sioux City entertainment will receive $22 million from the city to pay for parking and infrastructure around the Hard Rock. The city would then pay the money back over 20 years, using the extra tax revenue the casino would will generate.

Under the deal the Hard Rock would pay the city at least $2.1 million a year. Council member Tom Padgett says there are always going to be risks with what's called "Tax Increment Financing" or TIFs but the pay-off is usually well worth the investment.

"We [Sioux City] were sometimes seen as an abuser of TIF, we were using too many tax dollars or too many dollars to put into Tif and infrastructure and so forth. Well now we've returned in excess of $400 million in what we call TIF releases. Kind of in retrospect everybody thinks it's a little better, a better idea," says Padgett.

The Council also approved a motion that gives Sioux City entertainment the ownership of Pearl Street between 3rd and 4th.

The plan is to slow traffic down in a similar fashion to what's in front of the convention center and Promenade cinema right now.

Bill Warner, President of Warner Gaming and Sioux City Entertainment says the plan for Pearl street will go and in hand with the Blue Zones plan for a more walkable downtown.

"Compromise is a good thing. I think putting the pedestrian walkway in there was a good idea. It's something we thought we had addressed with a separate walk way but the comments that were made were good and ultimately led to a better answer for everyone. I think what we need to do now is take the direction of the motion that was approved and get a plan finalizing that and make sure everyone takes a look at it and says it's exactly what we agreed to," says Warner.

The next step is for Sioux City Entertainment to come up with a final plan that it will present to the city for final approval before construction begins.