Both sides react after 21 ordinance remains in effect - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Both sides react after 21 ordinance remains in effect

IOWA CITY (KWWL) --  For a group of businesses, the news that the 21 ordinance will remain in effect may be too much to overcome. 

''In a room last night with a lot of these young entrepreneurs that aren't going to make it, in particular, the large bars in town, it's a real concern,'' said Leah Cohen, owner of Bo James in Iowa City.

Cohen helped organize the Iowa City Safety Committee, which pushed to repeal the ordinance.

She says several of the larger bars depended heavily on collecting cover charges.  Some have taken a significant hit since 19 and 20 year olds were banned from their establishments after 10:00 p.m.

''I don't think they're closing tomorrow.  I think by the first of January we'll be able to look downtown and see what type of changes have been made,'' Cohen said.

Iowa City mayor Matt Hayek, one of the main figures on the other side of the issue, agrees a few of the bars may be in trouble.

He believes the overall downtown economic climate, however, will continue to thrive.

''Downtown is a vibrant, stable economy, there's consistent demand for commercial space,'' Hayek said.

And while the two sides have sparred for the better part of five months, both agree, it's time to put difference aside and work together to make downtown an all-inclusive, attractive venue.

''Over the long run, this is going to make our downtown economy more diverse and healthier for the benefit of the entire community,'' Cohen said.

''Our challenge will be is how we look and embrace all the people in our community, including this youth.  How do we get them engaged in our downtown?''

Online reporter:  Jason Epner


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