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Ames Main Street RAGBRAI requests approved

Ames+City+Council+meeting+on+Jan.+24.+
Jacob Rice
Ames City Council meeting on Jan. 24.

The Ames City Council unanimously approved seven requests from Ames Main Street for RAGBRAI without discussion, which adds to the growing list of already approved measures. 

The requests for Ames main street within the closed area included:

  • A five-day (July 25-29) liquor license with outdoor service
  • Closure of 147 metered parking spaces
  • Suspension of parking regulations and waiver of fees from 6:00 a.m. on July 25 until 9:00 a.m. on July 26
  • Usage and waiver of electrical fees for event
  • Waiver of enforcement of Section 17.16 of Municipal Code related to minors prohibited on certain premises with respect only to proposed downtown entertainment area for event
  • Waiver of enforcement of Section 17.17 of Municipal Code related to alcohol consumption in parks with respect only to Tom Evans Plaza for event

The street closure requests from 4:00 p.m. on July 24 through 8:00 a.m. on July 26 included the closure of:

  • Main Street, from just east of the Wells Fargo drive through entrance to the east entrance to the CBD lot on the 100 Block
  • Burnett Avenue, from Main Street to the U.S. Bank drive-through entrance
  • Kellogg Avenue, from the CBD lot to Main north to 5th Street
  • Douglas Avenue, between Main Street and 5th Street
  • Tom Evans Plaza

Public Forum

Ames resident Rick Exner addressed the council regarding the 10-foot clearance over sidewalks in the proposed property maintenance code. 

Exner said while walking, he goes through the intersection of Northwestern Avenue and 24th street where there are small trees arching over the sidewalk that does not meet the 10-foot clearance. 

“On hot days, this little arbor provides a cool moment,” Exner said. “In the first snowstorm, it is a magical haven for both pedestrians and birds.”

According to previous reporting by the Daily, the council has discussed whether the clearance should be 8 or 10 feet at two meetings prior to the Tuesday meeting. During the meeting on June 27, the council voted unanimously for a 10-foot clearance following the guidance of Ames city staff. Their recommendation was based on the possibility of violating compliance on sidewalk projects funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which requires a 10-foot clearance.

“Is the city really going to run a 10-foot tall snow plow down the sidewalk?” Exner asked. “If [Ames] might do that somewhere at some time in the future, does it need to remove sidewalk vegetation everywhere as a precaution?”

Ken Platt, another Ames resident, brought a whiteboard illustration of the Woodland street and Westwood street intersection near Tahira and Labh Hira Park to the council due to concerns regarding the removal of stop signs. 

“This is an accident waiting to happen,” Platt said. “I’m hoping the council review the removal of these stop signs and hopefully they’ll be returned.”

Platt also said that the stop signs have been there since he moved to Ames fifty years ago and that children are still crossing the intersection to go to the park despite Edwards Elementary being removed. 

“I urge the council to take a close look at this, and hopefully you’ll decide it might be a slight inconvenience for some people who have to maybe stop,” Platt said. “But really I think the important thing is safety. We need to protect our children.”

Additional Measures

Due to the RAGBRAI overnight stop in Ames, the council is holding its next regular meeting a week earlier on July 18. This meeting will also have a vote on the first reading of the property maintenance code.

Notably, Ward 1 Rep. Gloria Betcher was absent but indicated during the previous meeting that she will be in attendance for the July 18 meeting.

Mayor John Haila proclaimed July 2023 as Parks and Recreation Month. The Ames Parks and Recreation department has events every day of the month under the theme of “Where Community Grows.” They are also holding a challenge for residents to visit all 38 Ames parks and facilities. 

The Ames International Partner Cities Association Board President Cindy Hicks told the council that its sister city, Koshu, Japan, will be sending a delegation to Ames on Oct. 16-17 in conjunction with celebrating 30 years of city sisterhood.

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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