Iowa City Council Talks Buildings, Bags & Birds

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

Downtown Iowa City looking to the east can be seen in this photo taken from the top of the Plaza Towers building Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in Iowa City. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Jay Knoll

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Dozens of people jammed into the Iowa City council chambers to discuss a redevelopment project at Gilbert and College streets Tuesday night. Later this month the city council is expected to allow one independent developer to move forward with their plan for the area. Five finalists were chosen by city staff last month.

Of the finalists, one includes a movie theater and bowling ally, while the other four would include the New Pioneer Co-Op grocery store. All include apartments of various sizes.

The proposed buildings range in height from five to 20 stories tall.

So many people attended Tuesday's meeting that overflow crowds watched on TV sets in two locations.

Representatives from New Pioneer Co-Op told the council that the site would be vital to their future in downtown, as they continue to search for a new location. Independent film enthusiasts urged the council to support the 20-story building with a movie theater, citing data that shows widespread interest.

Other council notes, the city continues to move forward with a plan to allow urban chickens. The council passed a zoning measure Tuesday night, next up members will discuss policy, meaning urban chickens could be in backyards by this spring.

The council also struck down a request to ban plastic grocery bags in Iowa City.

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