Iowa City Considers Pedestrian Mall Restrictions

Downtown Iowa City and the University of Iowa campus can be seen in this photo taken from the top of the Plaza Towers building Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in Iowa City. The UI and the City of Iowa City have been working together on a variety of projects and have make improvements to their relationship over the last few years. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa City officials are considering new rules to deal with people who loiter in the city's pedestrian mall.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports there has been a mixed response to the proposals, which the City Council will discuss Tuesday night.

Proposals include banning lying on benches between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and restrictions on lying on planters that hold greenery. Another rule would limit the ability to keep personal items in public spaces.

Supporters say the new rules are needed to deal with increased loitering on the north edge of the ped mall.

Nancy Bird, executive director of the Iowa City Downtown District, says some people loitering have been increasingly aggressive.

Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan says officials should hire a social worker to deal with vagrancy problems.

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