Tell Iowa City who should be honored on a new feature planned for the Ped Mall

A preliminary sketch for the Black Hawk Mini Park story wall. — photo by Paul Brennan

Iowa City wants to know who its most prominent citizens are. Or were. And it wants to know by Nov. 1.

As part of the Ped Mall improvement project, two walls will be installed to hide utility cabinets and transformers from public view. In addition to hiding ungainly bits of infrastructure, those walls are supposed to tell “the story of Iowa City.”

The story wall near the Clinton Street entrance to the Ped Mall will be dedicated to Iowa City’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature, and will feature the text of the poem “Writers in a Cafe,” by Marvin Bell, Iowa’s first state poet laureate. The story wall in Black Hawk Mini Park will be dedicated to the history of Iowa City. Plans call for the names of Iowa City’s most prominent residents, past and present, to be displayed on the wall, as part of the historical display.

Rendering of the story wall in Black Hawk Mini Park. — image via the City of Iowa City

The city is currently accepting nominations for the names that should appear on the wall.

“As we’ve had discussions for who should be included in the story wall, it became obvious that we should open up the process to the public,” Marcia Bollinger, neighborhood outreach coordinator for Iowa City, told Little Village. “We’d like to have a nice balance of names, from the founding of the city up until today.”

Nominations will be reviewed by a committee whose members represent a variety of points of view, from members of the city’s scientific and artistic communities to political figures.

“The story wall will be able to evolve, according to the current plan for it,” Bollinger said. “So names can be added or changed in the future.”

Nominations for the story wall can be submitted online through Nov. 1.

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