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Councilor running for re-election

BY REBECCA MORIN | OCTOBER 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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After years of helping run the family shop, one local business owner hopes to continue to serve his hometown’s government to further commercial growth in the area.

“I’m really looking for more economic development in Iowa City,” City Councilor Terry Dickens said. “We’ve been losing retail and other kinds of businesses to surrounding communities, and we need to get back to keeping them here in Iowa City.”

Dickens, 58, is ending his first term on the City Council after serving for the past four years in an at-large seat. He is running for re-election for the District-B seat.

The lifelong Iowa City resident co-owns his family business, Herteen and Stocker Jewelers, 101 S. Dubuque St. He is also president of Retail Jewelers Organization and serves on the Iowa City Area Development Board.

Outside the doors of his own store, Dickens said, he’d like to see further economic development beyond downtown.

“I think it’s very important that the Southeast Side of Iowa City be a major focus for us as far as housing, retail, and revitalizing the Towncrest area and Sycamore Mall, which is going to be called the Iowa City Marketplace, so those are all areas that are very important,” Dickens said.

Willa Dickens, Terry Dickens’ father and co-owner of Herteen and Stocker, said he believes that focusing on making a more welcoming atmosphere to Iowa City would be beneficial to recruit new businesses.

“It’s good for anyone considering coming to Iowa City and their ability to come to people that are involved in business here and see what a strong community we have and what we have to offer,” he said. “I think it would be very positive working with someone who is coming to Iowa City and expanding to Iowa City.”

Having served in city government over the past few years, Terry Dickens has played a role in the passage of several hot-button ordinances.

With an almost unanimous vote from the City Council on Sept. 17, the Pedestrian Mall ordinance was adopted — an issue that had the Dickens’ business at the forefront.

“It was to … police the bad behavior that we see frequently outside,” Willa Dickens said. “The swearing, the fighting, the obscene language, the comments to our customers … that’s what the ordinance was all about.”

One local business owner also commended how the councilor addressed the issue.

“He has a great sense of what is the best interest for the city,” said Bill Nusser, the owner of Hands Jewelers, 109 E Washington St. “There have been some troublesome issues that affect him, such as the Ped Mall ordinance, and I thought his restraint was very admirable, and I feel like he’s very tactful.”

However, Terry Dickens is not just concerned with recruiting new businesses to Iowa City, he also wants to create more affordable housing options. He said he is in favor of the new developments that are creating workforce housing.

“All of our concerns are for wage affordable housing,” he said. “We have so many companies looking at Iowa City — tech companies and smaller companies that would like to move here and build their companies here. Affordable housing is very tough to find.”

With the 21-ordinance making its way on the ballot again, Dickens said he hopes the ordinance stays in place; he would, however, be in favor of changing the ordinance if the drinking law changed.

“The numbers have dropped as far as assaults, and even the house parties that everyone was worried about never came to fruition, so it’s much better, much calmer downtown, much safer,” Dickens said. “I’m just a firm believer the … law should be 19, but once that would change, I would be the first one to be on board to change it.”


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