Campustown among topics covered in GSB open forum

Ross Boettcher

Much of the time during the Government of the Student Body’s senate meeting Wednesday was immersed with amendments and drawn-out debate, but an open forum with members of the Ames City Council proved to be dense with meaningful topics.

Some of the topics brought up between the two governmental bodies included the status of downtown mall construction, parking in residential areas, crosswalk safety and predominantly, the standing of Campustown.

After extended conversation between City Council members and GSB, there were a number of conclusions drawn about the future and current economic status of what Ames Mayor Ann Campbell referred to as the entryway of Iowa State.

“It’s no secret that the university looks at Campustown as its front door, and as of late, it can’t be too happy with what that front door looks like,” Campbell said.

While Campustown does have certain staples that give it an identity, most of those staples consist of tap beer and shots of vodka.

“The fact that Campustown has the reputation of being basically bars suggests to other companies that this isn’t the best location,” said 4th Ward Councilman Riad Mahayni. “We have to give Campustown a competitive advantage.”

One of the advantages Mahayni suggested included the ability of businesses to survive the drastic 12-month population change endured by Ames every year. Along with this sentiment, Mahayni said students need to start putting their money where their mouth is.

“You need to spend your money where you want to see progress,” Mahayni said. “As citizens, If we want something, we have to make sure there’s money there to support these businesses.”

Currently, there are no direct plans to renovate or change the structure of Campustown, a problem that GSB President Brian Phillips, senior in political science, feels may be a lack of organizational communication.

“Everyone agrees that something has to be done, but nobody is willing to sit down in the same room and talk about it,” Phillips said.

At the tail end of Wednesday’s meeting, there were four student groups that found themselves one step closer to becoming more stable financially. The Asian Pacific American Awareness Coalition, Solar Decathlon, ISU Boxing Club and ISU Table Tennis Club all had bills survive votes to obtain extra funding.

APAAC was granted a loan to help remove a negative balance on its current budget, a problem that has rendered them helpless financially for nearly two years.

GSB speaker Adam Krupicka, graduate student in biochemistry, said although the loan was not something GSB is known for, it was necessary.

“This is a bit of a risky loan,” Krupicka said. “But, it’s something I will be supporting as part of the finance committee and because APAAC is one of the longest-standing multicultural groups on campus.”