Iowa City officials to consider game day vendor ban - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City officials to consider game day vendor ban

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

For many, vendors outside of Kinnick Stadium, seem to go hand in hand with the Hawkeye game day experience.

"The fans enjoy all the people on Melrose.  It's a great afternoon for Hawkeye football and everyone over there that's a vendor is a part of it, a very significant part of it," said Ron Christensen, owner of Gameday Iowa.

Christensen was able to build his customer base 21 years ago selling Hawkeye products on Melrose.

"All in all the majority of the vendors there are very reputable people, they do a very good job, and they work extremely hard at it," Christensen said.

Now Iowa City officials are recommending Christensen and some two dozen other businesses find a new place to set up shop on game day.

"The zoning doesn't allow for this and we believe the current regulations do the best job of protecting the current livability of the neighborhood," said Doug Boothroy, director of housing and inspection services in Iowa City.

Boothroy says several problems have come up recently related to intensifying commercial practices.

Live music and alcohol sales among two vendors, and an accidental punctured gas line by a third in 2010 has raised serious neighborhood and life safety issues.

"Are we going to enforce the regulations as they are currently are written or are we going to change them, and if we're going to change them, how do we change them to best protect the neighborhood?" Boothroy said.

As an alternative to banning these vendors, city leaders have also proposed allowing commercial vending on Melrose but only by permit and if certain performance standards are met.

It's a debate that will undoubtedly heat up this summer, as we approach the home opener in September.

The city council will take this issue up further Monday night at a work session.

 

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