116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Occupy Iowa City protestors likely will be allowed to set up in a city park larger tents than they are currently permitted, but not other structures.
The group, which has had a presence in College Green Park for more than three weeks, had appealed a permit issued by the city allowing them to stay in the park for up to four months under certain conditions.
Among their requests was to change the provision in the permit that tents designed for more than six people were prohibited. The group said they have received a donated 10-person tent designed to withstand arctic weather.
The City Council, after receiving comments from about 15 Occupy Iowa City members, passed a motion, 6-0, modifying the permit to allow two such tents, subject to approval by the Fire Department. No additional electronic devices would be allowed in the tents. Council member Terry Dickens was absent.
City Manager Tom Markus said he and staff were not supportive of any structures being allowed to be built at the park. Earlier this month, some members of the group started building a wooden structure before the city ordered them to stop.
City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said the council needed to understand that they are setting a precedent and any other group, no matter the message they carry, would have similar rights.
Occupy Iowa City can try to renew the permit when it expires after four months.
A core group of a couple of dozen protestors have been in the 2.4-acre park, located east of downtown, as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread worldwide over concerns of economic inequality.