- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Now that the former Argosy riverboat casino is being removed, Sioux City officials are beginning to consider options for the soon-to-be vacant riverfront space.

The riverboat pulled away from its dock and started a long journey to a shipyard in Illinois earlier this week. City officials say some ideas, such as a fishing pier or retail shops, have been tossed around for the site, but nothing’s final yet. They say they’re in no hurry to immediately pick a new use for the site that was leased to the casino operator for the past 21 years.

“We only get one shot at this so we want to get it right,” Councilwoman Rhonda Capron said Wednesday. “We’re going to take our time.”

Mayor Bob Scott said a final decision likely won’t come until the city council sets its annual budget priorities next year, the Sioux City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1ECLxOJ ). Scott said local residents will be able to weigh in on the site.

Two barges that housed casino offices still remain on the Sioux City riverfront. While workers have been making steady progress in dismantling the vessels, putting in 11-hour days since arriving in Sioux City last week, Mike Marko of Mike’s Inc. said he’s unsure how soon the barges can be moved down the Missouri River.

Marko said he’s had trouble finding a crane to lift parts of the barges and a tow boat to pull them away from the riverfront. Mike’s Inc., a marine business, bought Argosy’s assets on Oct. 3.

The floating casino closed in July after the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission ordered it to stop operations, saying the business wasn’t partnered with a state-licensed nonprofit group as required by Iowa law. The casino’s parent company fought the order, but the Iowa Supreme Court ruled it had to close.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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