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New deal: Interactive public art installation comes to downtown

When it became clear that a sewer renovation project on Washington Street in downtown Iowa City would obscure the streetscape for nearly eight months, the Iowa City Downtown District turned to local artist Thomas Agran for help. Agran has been responsible for the murals at both the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City New Pioneer Co-op […]

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Op-ed: A year on the job with the Iowa City Downtown District

Imagine you’re a time traveler visiting current-day downtown Iowa City from an earlier time. Upon exiting your DeLorean, parked in front of the Airliner, you walk south and hang a left on Washington St. passing the beautifully restored MidWestOne Bank building. As you walk east you focus on the architecture of the buildings around you: […]

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UR Here: How variation in building facades can change the paths we take

Recently, I was sitting at the front window café bar of Iowa City’s Z’Marik’s Noodle Café on Dubuque Street eating my krith-a-raki for lunch when I decided to conduct a little experiment. For 15 minutes or so, I kept track of how many people walked past on my side of the street and how many […]

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What will the “Core Four” councilors mean for Iowa City’s pending development projects?

Last November, prior to the election of a slate of candidates who called themselves the “Core Four,” then-Mayor Matt Hayek penned an open letter predicting the consequences of such a win. It would, he wrote, see a “return to the anti-growth, micromanaging City Hall of eras past.” But at the top of 2016, to many […]

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City prepares for Riverfront Crossings Park proposals

Iowa City’s Riverfront Crossings Park project continues to move towards fruition. On Dec. 18, city officials held a pre-submittal meeting for consultants who plan to submit bids in response to its Request for Proposals for Design and Engineering Services for the park. According to Senior Civil Engineer Ben Clark, a half-dozen firms from across the […]

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Chauncey tower question splits council candidate forum

Less than fifteen minutes into last night’s city council candidate forum on environmental issues, moderator Tom Carsner split the field with a question about the direction of the tax-increment-financed (TIF) development known as the Chauncey Tower. Sitting councilors Rick Dobyns and Jim Throgmorton went back and forth on the project after Carsner asked the field, […]

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UR Here: The place is what’s Important

“If you build it, they will come” is baloney. Perhaps it’s heresy to question a platitude from one of Iowa’s sacred texts. But the ghostly voice from the cornfield seems to be whispering in a lot of ears as major changes loom for Iowa City’s downtown and near-downtown area. We have a new Downtown and […]

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Letter to the Editor: High-rise development in Iowa City

By John Thomas For over two years, Iowa City residents have vigorously debated the cost/benefit of high-rise development. Opponents have argued that high-rises only belong in the Downtown or portions of Riverfront Crossings, where impacts on adjacent and nearby properties will be insignificant. The use of tax-increment financing (TIF) is another concern. Why must taxpayers […]

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Serving our community: People of impact

We can’t always pick our callings, our duties and obligations. Yet for some in Iowa City, the needs of the community present an undeniable call to action. Individuals who lead not because they desire fame or glory, but because the community needs it—requires it—lest we suffer as a whole. These figures are important. Not because […]

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Fate of cottages still uncertain

The Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) voted unanimously last week to recommend giving the three workers’ cottages on South Dubuque Street historic landmark status. The vote comes after the HPC reviewed a petition submitted by the Friends of the Historic Preservation, which calls for the city to rezone the block from a commercial zone […]

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Council votes against public hearing on cottages

Iowa City Council voted this morning 4-3 not to have a public hearing to discuss the historic status of three workers’ cottages, located on the 600 block of South Dubuque Street. The buildings, which had been slated for rezoning into the new Riverfront Crossings District, are on the chopping block after an engineer’s report from […]

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