But if you can't decide, I'll give you my opinion on both the good and the bad so that you can make an informed decision.
I've lived in Sibley for nearly my entire life, excluding a brief period where I lived in the town of Ocheyedan, 12 miles to the east. I've been a child here, a student here, and now a homeowner.
When I created this website it may have surprised many readers to have learned that, contrary to what some of them have implied (🙄), I really do enjoy living here. Among my friends from school - now over a decade ago - I was one of only three to stay here after finishing college.
Sometimes I honestly wish that my spouse and I had decided to move to a bigger city like Sioux Falls, South Dakota, or even a bigger town like Sheldon, Iowa to the south, or Worthington, Minnesota to the north. But I'd be lying if I said there weren't times we're glad we stayed in Sibley, too.
Throughout the rest of this page, I'm going to do my best to explain that Sibley has a lot of good things going for it. However, in my own opinion, it also has its share of shortcomings. It's up to you as the reader to weigh the good against the bad.
One of those shortcomings, which is mostly no longer a problem at the time of this writing, was a business located two blocks from the most "bustling" part of "downtown" Sibley. That business, and our local government's dealings with them, was the reason I built this website.
It should go without saying that everything you just read, and everything you're about to read, is purely opinion. Only a fool would take it as fact.
Let's start with the history of this website before diving into the pros and cons of moving to Sibley; more specifically, the reason this website was created:
Keep in mind that everything you're about to read about "The Blood Plant" is largely not a problem anymore. Although it's difficult to find any news on the subject at this time, it seems that "The Blood Plant" has mostly stopped producing the offending odors described below; However, myself, my spouse and members of my family still smell them occasionally, and others in Sibley (as reported in the Gazette Tribune newspaper) do not consider the odors to be 100% eliminated.
If you're a resident or visiting Sibley and you've detected what you think is the odor and fumes I've described below, I'd be very interested in hearing from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our correspondence will remain private, you will not be identified.
In 2013, the Iowa Economic Development Authority gave $150,000 in financial assistance to a business that moved into an old factory building in Sibley. Not long after the business got up and running, locals began to refer to the facility with the not-so-affectionate moniker "The Blood Plant" thanks to the absolutely terrible, wretched odors emanating from the building.
We're not just talking an "oh, that was a little stinky" kind of smell. We're talking a rotten blood, stale beer, "I wonder if I should see a doctor after breathing that" wall of fumes. The putrid air seemed to hang over much of the town for 3-4 days every week. It was particularly nasty on hot and humid summer days.
At the time I lived very close to the offending facility. It was absolutely terrible, we couldn't open our windows in the spring, summer or fall thanks to the seemingly malignant stench. Driving down 10th Street would make you instantly regret using your vehicle's air conditioner. And need I mention: the facility is located right down the block from Superfoods, the only grocery store in town.
One Sibley resident, who lived near the plant at the time, regretted purchasing his home due to the "overwhelming aroma" . It was so bad for him that he was forced to turn off his air conditioner in the summer, and his wife's in-home daycare had suffered due to its close proximity to the source of the smell.
After living so close to "The Blood Plant", I eventually grew fed up from what I perceived as total inaction from the city council and government of Sibley. I resolved to use my skills as a professional developer and programmer to create this very website. The goal: document as much as I could about the situation, call out the city on what I perceived to be a streak of inaction and ineffectiveness, and affect change.
In fact this website was surprisingly effective at drawing attention to the issue with over 2000 visitors on just one day in December of 2015 - largely from the Sibley area alone. It's also been a bit of a sticking point for some of the more salty in town, culminating in (once again, in my own opinion) a misguided attempt to scare me into taking this website down, First Amendment rights to criticize the government be damned.
But again, let me reiterate: the problem with "The Blood Plant" is largely not a problem in Sibley anymore. It's my understanding that eventually the city began fining the facility for public nuisance violations and both sides filed lawsuits against each other, but I'm personally unable to find much news on the subject.
Largely these complaints are somewhat petty, but to be honest: this website has an audience, I know the city council is reading, and I want to make this town better despite accusations of the opposite. If you have an idea that you think should be posted here, let me know! Send an email to email@example.com.
When it comes down to it, I'm happy living in Sibley. If you had asked me if I could recommend moving to Sibley back when I created this website and "The Blood Plant" was at its peak reign of terror, I would have immediately said "No". But that problem is mostly taken care of, and at this time I'd be happy to say "Yes" as long as you like the small-town life as I do. Sibley has its drawbacks and could use improvements in many areas, but so could many other small towns.
However, if the problem ever arises again, I will not hesitate to update this website.