21 only debate back in Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

21 only debate back in Iowa City


The allowed entry age into Iowa City bars is once again being debated.

In 2010 voters said yes to a 21 and over ordinance, banning patrons under 21 from drinking establishments after 10 P.M.

A new effort looks to repeal the city ordinance.

Two bar owners have filed paperwork that signifies they want the bar entry age back to 19.

Now the process begins yet again to bring the issue in front of the city council.

For Summit bar general manager Brad Temple, the absence of 19 and 20-year-olds after 10 P.M. has been an adjustment to the live entertainment part of business.

"It's tough to do it if it's at 9 or 10 at night because you really cut your population in half for the demographic you're looking to come to the show," Temple said.

Temple says business has still been good.  Soon it could be better.

Two Iowa City bar owners are looking to collect 25 hundred signatures in an effort to repeal the current 21 ordinance.

"I think it really could helps us in our efforts to push a DJ or push a live band," Temple said.

Iowa City mayor Matt Hayek says the 21-only ordinance is working and has been a positive step for Iowa City residents and businesses.

"Downtown is safer, it's more vibrant, it's better balanced.  The sky is falling predictions that they made at the time have not come to pass," Hayek said.

Data compiled by the UI and Iowa City police department since 2009 show significant declines in police calls to service downtown and alcohol-related arrests.

Mayor Hayek doubts the council will overturn 21-only.

"It's a better place than it was three years ago, and 21 only plays a factor in that," Hayek said.

For now the 21 debate is back in Iowa City, and students we spoke with hope, like 2010,  the conversation sparks change

"I think it gives people something more to do than go to house parties and not be safe that way," said UI student Hannah Owens.

"Iowa City is really known for their bar scene and it's really taken away a lot from that," said UI student Zach Mueller.

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