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While you were away

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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Protests greet Mike Brown decision

“I am Mike Brown” echoed through the Pedestrian Mall on the evening of Nov. 25.

Approximately 200 Iowa City residents and University of Iowa students, walked from the Pentacrest lawn, down Iowa Avenue, up Burlington Street, through the Ped Mall, and back to the intersection of Iowa Avenue and Clinton Street in solidarity with Michael Brown, the 18-year-old fatally shot by Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson.

Brown had reportedly stolen cigarillos from a convenience store prior to being confronted by Wilson, police reports have said.

The more than one-hour-long protest, which began at 5 p.m., was one of many throughout the nation.

From large vigils and protests erupting in Ferguson, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, to smaller protests in such cities as Toledo, Ohio, and Bangor, Maine, the local demonstration was one of more than 120 that have erupted since a grand-jury decision on Nov. 24 to not indict Wilson for the death of Brown on Aug. 9.

Iowa City resident Kendra Malone urged those present to talk about what she said are issues in the justice system and to help find solutions to ethnic disparities.

“I’m scared to death to move through communities,” the 32-year-old said. “If I step sideways, I could die.”

On Nov. 24, protests surged throughout Ferguson, and approximately 61 people were arrested. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon initially ordered 700 National Guard troops to Ferguson, then increased the number to 2,200, according to the Associated Press.

— by Rebecca Morin

New proposal promises ‘luxury’ student housing

A relatively new player in Iowa City’s real-estate development scene will look to throw more skin in the game with a proposal that calls for the construction of a 15-story luxury-student-housing tower.

The planned building, the View at 316, would include 162,000-plus square-feet of residential space, with 154 fully furnished units totaling 248 bedrooms, according to information provided in the Iowa City City Council packet.

Jeff Davidson, the city’s economic-development administrator, said the proposal at 316 S. Madison St. adjacent to the UI’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and a Kum & Go convenience store, would introduce a new model in housing for the state’s fifth-largest community, offering a contrast to the current aging and poorly managed student-housing stock.

“It’s a product that is not modeled here right now,” Davidson said, noting that city officials are interested in seeing additional large, high-density developments that have features students are seeking and are well-managed.

The building would include 53 studio apartments, 78 two-bedroom apartments, 15 one-bedroom apartments, and eight three-bedroom apartments.

With an unknown price tag, the project would be chock-full of sought-after amenities.

The development would include a movie room and gaming center, rooftop kitchen/community lounge with the option to add a fire pit, study lounge and computer lab, fitness room, community lounge with a vending area, a sunbathing lounge on the sixth-floor, secure bicycle parking and storage options, underground parking, a lounge located on the mezzanine level, and a first-floor lobby.

The group is seeking a project standing eight stories, plus a first-ever bonus height of five additional stories for meeting criteria for student housing. An additional two stories would be stacked on top for being a LEED building, making it the city’s tallest, according to council packet information.

— by Quentin Misiag

City eyes new buses

The City Council will discuss a resolution that would add four light-duty buses.

The vehicles would be used for the Transportation Services Department and would come from the Hoglund Bus Co.

Each would cost $93,225, totally $372,900 for the city. The funds will come from grants awarded from the Federal Transit Administration.

The department will purchased them using a state contract.

The buses will replace buses currently used in the paratransit fleet.

— by Lily Abromeit

Council to ponder Riverside project

The City Council will hear a proposal Tuesday for the development of a private property between the city and EMRICO Properties LLC.

The proposal will center on a multi-family housing development to be located on Riverside Drive in the Riverside Drive Urban Renewal Area.

The project would cost $16.1 million. EMRICO is requesting $1.8 million in TIF rebates, 11.2 percent of the costs.

If the TIF funds are allocated, officials estimate they will be paid off in nine years.

According to the council packet, the project would be significant for the neighborhood, because it has dealt with declining property values recently.

— by Lily Abromeit

Council to consider taxi preposal

On Tuesday, the City Council will hear a proposal for a taxi ordinance.

According to council packet information, officials are calling for the ordinance as a result of police investigations related to sexual assaults this past spring, as well as the expected arrival of Uber, a rideshare service.

At the Aug. 19 work session, the council discussed recommendations from the police regarding taxi regulations.

The proposal will focus on providing timely and accurate information on vehicles and drivers to police and identifiable information on the vehicles and drivers for the consumers.

The taxi also has to be a “safe vehicle,” and the driver must be a “good driver.”

According to packet information, the fare must also be a “fair price.” This does not mean the city will regulate prices; rather, the passenger will need to know how the fare will be determined before the ride commences.

— by Lily Abromeit


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