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View Poll Results: Which is your top Iowa city of the Top 5 Largest Iowa Cities?
Des Moines 106 50.24%
Sioux City 19 9.00%
Cedar Rapids 31 14.69%
Davenport 44 20.85%
Waterloo 11 5.21%
Voters: 211. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-27-2007, 10:11 AM
 
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Of the 5 Largest cities in Iowa, which city do you like the best?

1) Des Moines, 2) Cedar Rapids 3) Davenport 4) Sioux City 5) Waterloo

Personally my rank would be 1) Sioux City 2) Des Moines 3) Cedar Rapids 4) Davenport 5) Waterloo.

Sioux City barely edges out Des Moines given the recent additions of sorely needed big box stores to the region. WIth a metro population of close to 150,000, Sioux City is located in the Loess Hills on the Missouri River and at the junction of 3 states. It is one of a few Iowa Cities to offer commercial air service. It's proximity to both Sioux Falls, SD and Omaha, NE makes this Iowa City very well located. Omaha has close to 1 million people. Sioux Falls has over 200,000. The I-29 Cooridor places Sioux City within 2 hrs of those two cities, and 4 hours of Kansas City, MO. It's also 4 hrs. from Minneapolis/St. Paul

Sioux City is also one of Iowa's more diverse cities. Boasting large Hispanic, Native American, and Asian populations, the city has more Hispanic and Asian markets per capita than its population would suggest. This is more so than the eastern Iowa cities of Davenport, Waterloo, and Cedar Rapids. Only Iowa City would trump Sioux City in this category and of course Des Moines.

The region boats many recreational activities due to its location on America's longest river, the Missiouri River. Many lakes have been spun off of the Missouri offering beautiful lush scenery. The Loess Hills, made up of the famous yellow soil that can only be found in Siouxland and in China offers many scenic viewpoints of the 3 states (SD, NE, and IA).

Sioux City boats a relatively new 10,000 Seat Arena, the renovated Orpheum Theater, one of only a few left in the country, the Lewis and Clark Museum, and Riverboat gambling.

The runner up, Des Moines, I do feel is Iowa's only true city, be it small. It does offer big city amenities with small town charm. It is also home to Iowa's largest commercial airport offering Iowa its only non-stop to New York on American (Eagle). It is the cultural center of Iowa. It boasts Iowa's largest mall with many big city names that cannot be found in most normal Iowa malls. Its restaurant selection by far is the most diverse of the top 5.
Des Moines is also the 3rd largest insurance center behind London and Hartford in the world. It's done a great job at working with its suburbs to create a nice regional MSA. It continues to compete heavily with Omaha, and probably is not quite at Omaha's level for comparison, but it's definitely holding its own to cities of comparable size such as Boise, ID MSA.

We'll see what everyone else thinks.

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Old 05-27-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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We've always called Sioux City, Sewer City. My wife is traveling there next week. I'll report back.
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Iowa City/Dubuque, IA
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I wouldn't even put Waterloo in the top 5!! They are a disaster. Of the 5 largest cities in Iowa, my order would be 1) Des Moines 2) Cedar Rapids 3) Sioux City 4) Davenport 5) Waterloo.

DSM has been, for a long time, the center of a lot of the action in the state, and has tons of growth.

Cedar Rapids has grown quite slowly (but steadily) and has relatively good jobs, schools, and transportation.

I haven't been to Sioux City, but I'd rate it higher than the bottom two.

Davenport is nice in a lot of ways, but I think that the crime is really out of hand there, and they have lost a lot of jobs. Not much excitement.

Waterloo is really in BAD shape. LOTS of job losses, high crime, bad schools, and no change on the horizon. From where I live, we have the same news channels as Waterloo, and all they ever have there is crime, crime, and more crime.

However, I don't think that I'd just stop at the top 5: there's very little size difference between Waterloo and the next 3: Iowa City, Dubuque, Council Bluffs. There's a lot happening here (in Dubuque) that doesn't make news statewide, but is very positive locally.
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:32 AM
 
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I agree that Dubuque, Council Bluffs, and Waterloo are all roughly the same size, but Waterloo did edge out Dubuque, Council Bluffs, and Iowa City.

If those 3 cities were included, Iowa City would probably rank high given its MSA growth and expansion into Coralville, which is booming by Iowa standards. Its close proximity to Chicago, and its relatively well educated workforce makes Iowa City fairly desirable. It's also located on Iowa's major East-West corridor.

Now having said that, US 20 is in the process of being 4 laned all the way to Sioux City. This could change the dynamics of the state as most of the state's growth had been along the I-80 cooridor Plus Cedar Rapids with 380.
Dubuque and Sioux City have always flown under the radar.

We'll see what happens. But what I do know is that IOwa is starting to pay more attention to Sioux City now after Sioux City had fallen significantly behind Sioux Falls, which those two cities were roughly the same size at one point. Now Sioux Falls is along the lines of Cedar Rapids, IA in population.
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Iowa City/Dubuque, IA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
Waterloo did edge out Dubuque, Council Bluffs, and Iowa City.
Yes, but keep in mind that Waterloo has over twice as much land area as either I.C. or Dubuque. Iowa City: 24.2 sq. mi., Dubuque: 27.7 sq. mi., Waterloo: 60.7 sq. mi. Frankly, it would be embarrassing if they had fewer people than the other two, given their size. I know that here in Dubuque, we have (up until recently) been unable to capture a lot of the growth happening around the city due to our limited size. That is changing, however, as the city just unveiled a plan to annex 23,000 acres over the next 20-30 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
If those 3 cities were included, Iowa City would probably rank high given its MSA growth and expansion into Coralville, which is booming by Iowa standards. Its close proximity to Chicago, and its relatively well educated workforce makes Iowa City fairly desirable.
The growth there is very strong, but Dubuque is actually closer to Chicago than I.C. is. Given, our highway to there is not as good, but that is changing as well, and will become 4-lane as soon as the $ comes in. Also, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation is working on setting up an Amtrak link from DBQ to Chicago (within 2 yrs), and Dubuque has its own airport (Iowa's 3rd busiest) with flights to/from Chicago, as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
Now having said that, US 20 is in the process of being 4 laned all the way to Sioux City. This could change the dynamics of the state as most of the state's growth had been along the I-80 cooridor Plus Cedar Rapids with 380.
Dubuque and Sioux City have always flown under the radar.
Yes, true. We in Dubuque now have 4 lanes to C.R., Madison (WI), Davenport, and Waterloo. Highway 20 here has been especially important. Most of the growth has been along it, extending out west.

Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
We'll see what happens. But what I do know is that IOwa is starting to pay more attention to Sioux City now after Sioux City had fallen significantly behind Sioux Falls, which those two cities were roughly the same size at one point.
Way over here on the other side of the state, we almost never hear anything about S.C. But since you mention the population thing, why hasn't S.C. kept pace with S.F.? The only difference-maker that I'm aware of is the tax climate. Is there anything else in play? The size difference is now quite large, and is growing. Take a look @ this: [http://www.siouxfalls.org/Planning/resources/demo_data/population.aspx] (broken link)
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Old 05-28-2007, 03:01 PM
 
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having lived in both DSM and SC, I rate SC higher for quality of life on many levels. the OP's comments are very accurate, and hopefully things will continue to develop in this lovely underrated community.

PS it is stereotypes such as "Sewer City" that do nothing to encourage growth. JMO There is much more to SC than packing houses.
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DBQer View Post
Yes, but keep in mind that Waterloo has over twice as much land area as either I.C. or Dubuque. Iowa City: 24.2 sq. mi., Dubuque: 27.7 sq. mi., Waterloo: 60.7 sq. mi. Frankly, it would be embarrassing if they had fewer people than the other two, given their size. I know that here in Dubuque, we have (up until recently) been unable to capture a lot of the growth happening around the city due to our limited size. That is changing, however, as the city just unveiled a plan to annex 23,000 acres over the next 20-30 years.



The growth there is very strong, but Dubuque is actually closer to Chicago than I.C. is. Given, our highway to there is not as good, but that is changing as well, and will become 4-lane as soon as the $ comes in. Also, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation is working on setting up an Amtrak link from DBQ to Chicago (within 2 yrs), and Dubuque has its own airport (Iowa's 3rd busiest) with flights to/from Chicago, as well.


Yes, true. We in Dubuque now have 4 lanes to C.R., Madison (WI), Davenport, and Waterloo. Highway 20 here has been especially important. Most of the growth has been along it, extending out west.


Way over here on the other side of the state, we almost never hear anything about S.C. But since you mention the population thing, why hasn't S.C. kept pace with S.F.? The only difference-maker that I'm aware of is the tax climate. Is there anything else in play? The size difference is now quite large, and is growing. Take a look @ this: [http://www.siouxfalls.org/Planning/resources/demo_data/population.aspx] (broken link)
There are several reasons that Sioux City fell far behind Sioux Falls. Some of the reasons are obviously the favorable business climate in Sioux Falls, ie, no State income tax. But it goes beyond that. Having only I-29 and US-20 hurt Sioux City. Sioux Falls has 2 interstate highways that criss cross. I-29 as a major North-South cooridor, and I-90, which offers direct access to Minneapolis/St. Paul. THis had made it more favorable for businesses wanting to do business with Sioux Falls rather than Sioux City. For the longest time, US 20 had been mainly 2 lanes going across the state. Finally, Sioux City's city council for years especially in the 1980's and early 90's resisted change...they were not as pro-business and visionary. THey made it difficult for America's large businesses to enter the market in many ways to save the mom and pop's...but as a result, Sioux Falls became a major retail/commercial draw as well. Finally, Sioux Falls is the largest city in the state of South Dakota. AS a result, a lot of South Dakota's money has been funding Sioux Falls and its growth. Sioux City is Iowa's 4th largest city, and does not get the same attention or priority as Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. People here oftentimes call themselves the "Forgotten" part of the state.

However that is now changing as the State of Iowa has recognized that they should have invested more into Sioux City decades ago. Now they appear to be as they have lost lots of ground to neighboring Nebraska and especially South Dakota. Sioux City in the last 10 years has really tranformed itself.
It's downtown now boasts a brand new 10,000 seat arena (large by Iowa Standards), a completely renovated Orpheum Theater that now draws all of the broadway musicals and concerts away from Sioux Falls, and an emerging retail sector that finally now is drawing big city brand names. Unfortunately this comes at the expense of the mom and pop's.

Now as with the city rankings of the top 5 largest cities in Iowa, I did state that the top 5 largest cities were 1) Des Moines, 2) Cedar Rapids 3) Davenport 4) Sioux City 5) Waterloo.

I do agree that Dubuque in the times that i have been there is nicer than Waterloo.....and I agree, Dubuque of course is closer to Chicago as is Davenport.....but I do think Iowa City's location on I-80 gives it a distinct advantage in terms of trade and business and growth over Waterloo and Dubuque. This may change with a 4 lane highway to Chicago...but Dubque also has topographical limitations as well.

Anyway, food for thought.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Iowa City/Dubuque, IA
100 posts, read 501,654 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
...but Dubque also has topographical limitations as well.
I found that statement a little funny. Living here, we generally don't think of our hills as limitations to anything, but rather something that makes us unique and distinctive. Dubuque is one of the few places in Iowa with VIEWS!!! In fact, a developer is about to embark on building (2) 12-story condo towers atop the city's bluffs, overlooking the river. I doubt such a thing would be very attractive if it was on the flat land in Central/Western Iowa and overlooked nothing.

In any case, the topography is becoming less relevant all the time. The expansion is creeping out into W/SW Dubuque, where the land is much flatter than near the river. People here just don't consider the hills to be a bad thing.
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Old 05-28-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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ACtually, Sioux City joins Dubuque in Western Iowa as one of the very few cities with views in Iowa. It's in the Loess Hills on the Missour River. We have several bluffs also. There's a place in Stone State Park where you're very elevated and have views of South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska all at once. Forgot the name of that point since it's been years since I've been there. Sioux City is at the heart of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway, one of the few designated scenic drives of Iowa.Sioux City's expansion is also away from the Missouri River in the city's southeast section...similar to Dubuque's SW section.

One thing you have that Sioux City doesnt have is American (American Eagle). Sioux City is primarily served by Northwest Airlines. Since I'm out of DFW, American is my airline of preference and I would love to be able to connect non stop, via ST. Louis, or via Chicago to get back to Iowa...unfortunately I have to take American into Omaha non stop. I could fly into Sioux City, but since all my miles are on American, my incentive to fly a different carrier is pretty low unless American prices are completely outrageous. But since the world headquarters of both Southwest and American are located here, fares are in general much cheaper. The problem is that American discontinued service to Sioux City, IA around the time of 9-11. Thus, it's cheaper for me to fly to Omaha non stop, rent a car and drive 70 miles home to family, than to fly via Minneapolis into a smaller community airport such as Sioux City. I'm sure Dubuque prices on American Eagle arent exactly cheap either! Currently Sioux Gateway Airport is trying to lure back the airlines it lost from the 1990's. At one point in time, Sioux Gateway had America West, Northwest, TWA, United, and US Airways all at the same time...that has all dropped off with 9-11 and Omaha's booming growth...as the Omaha MSA just a short 70 miles away has siphoned off passengers from Sioux City secondary to Southwest and Frontier Airlines arriving there. I'm hoping that American Eagle will resume service to Sioux City, but this time to DFW instead of St. Louis.
We'll see.

Last edited by metroplex2003; 05-28-2007 at 07:49 PM..
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OverAnalyzer View Post
PS it is stereotypes such as "Sewer City" that do nothing to encourage growth. JMO There is much more to SC than packing houses.
Which has nothing to do with why we call it Sewer City...
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