Downtown Iowa City gears for change - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Downtown Iowa City gears for change

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

It's a time ripe for change in downtown Iowa City.

"I think Iowa City's downtown is at the most exciting juncture in 30 years," said Iowa City mayor Matt Hayek.

Monday night, city leaders, business owners, and developers came together to discuss the direction downtown is headed.

Many are pushing for mixed-use buildings that would be used for retail and office space.  Talks are also brewing about attracting non-student housing in the area as well.

"The key for us I think going forward is balance.  We want to have students downtown, we also want to have the rest of the community downtown," Hayek said.

Many have pointed out that this is a critical time for the future of the area.

The 21 ordinance has modified the downtown scene.  While a few bars have closed, many have adapted and survived.

The city has also fielded interest from the private sector to develop and redevelop downtown space.  Many changes are on the horizon as well, including plans to redevelop the Riverfront Crossing area, just south of downtown.

In a space on Iowa Avenue, where a bar used to reside, Jack Piper is getting set to open an Italian restaurant.  He believes the changes will be a positive for the area.

"Iowa City is one of the best communities, and be it 21, or not 21, the downtown is going to survive."

City planners will hear public input on downtown's redevelopment throughout the summer.

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