Government

Want to buy some bricks? Iowa City looking to sell Ped Mall bricks as it redoes popular gathering spot

This rendering shows plans for Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall after work scheduled to start this spring. The city will replace the bricks on the mall over the next two summers and is seeing if people might be interested in buying some of them. (City of Iowa City).
This rendering shows plans for Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall after work scheduled to start this spring. The city will replace the bricks on the mall over the next two summers and is seeing if people might be interested in buying some of them. (City of Iowa City).
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IOWA CITY — City staffers are hoping to sell off pieces of Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall — brick by brick.

Over the next week, people can fill out an online survey indicating their interest in buying Ped Mall bricks after they’re pulled up this summer during construction.

The Ped Mall’s clay bricks will be replaced with a less-slick, concrete type of brick over the next two summers.

“The whole intent of the survey is just to kind of figure out who is actually interested in these bricks,” said Scott Sovers, city senior civil engineer. “I had some email correspondence with folks, just residential people that live in Iowa City, that want to put in a patio and use the brick from the Ped Mall.”

In all, the city has about 75,000 square feet of Ped Mall brick that will be removed — around 250,000 bricks.

Sovers estimated about 30 percent of the bricks would be damaged or otherwise unusable.

The replacement bricks will have similar coloring to the 1970s ones but will have some gray banding.

While the cost of the bricks is yet to be determined, Sovers said he expects larger quantities would be cheaper than smaller orders.

He expects them to become available in early summer.

“I think it’s just going to be one of those things where you can tell your friends when you go on your patio that ‘Hey, these are brick from the Ped Mall,’ ” Sovers said.

The Dubuque Street corridor on the Ped Mall will be the first portion replaced.

The city will tackle the College Street section in 2019.

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The $6.5 million Ped Mall work is part of a larger project that revamped Washington Street in 2016 and replaced its underground utilities.

During that time, the Iowa City Downtown District started a campaign called “Open Washington,” events and efforts to get shoppers downtown during the construction.

Nancy Bird, executive director of the downtown district, said her organization is putting together a plan to support Ped Mall businesses during the upcoming work.

The Ped Mall work, she said, will be less intrusive than the work on Washington Street, and all businesses should remain open through the summer.

In recent years, the Downtown District has made an effort to clean up and improve the Ped Mall. Along with cleaning up the alleyways by consolidating garbage service, the district is focusing on programming, such as painting murals in downtown alleys.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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