Government

Cedar Rapids City Council loosens curfew for minors in bars

Members also OK contract for Third Avenue two-way work

Aiden Babka, 12, and his father, Jim Babka, of North Liberty, press buttons at a station in October 2017 at the all-inclusive playground at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday awarded a $1.9 million contract to improve access to other city parks for those with disabilities. The work is part of a seven-year, $30 million effort to bring the city in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Aiden Babka, 12, and his father, Jim Babka, of North Liberty, press buttons at a station in October 2017 at the all-inclusive playground at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday awarded a $1.9 million contract to improve access to other city parks for those with disabilities. The work is part of a seven-year, $30 million effort to bring the city in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Minors would be allowed to stay a little later in establishments generating more than 50 percent of their revenue from alcohol, as one of the subtle changes proposed to the Cedar Rapids alcoholic beverages ordinance.

As it is now, minors must be out of such establishments by 7 p.m., but they would be allowed to stay until 9 p.m., if the change is approved by the Cedar Rapids City Council.

“We felt like it was important with events that go on late sometimes for those establishments to allow people to stay in there just a little longer,” Amanda Grieder, the SAFE-CR manager, said during a council meeting Tuesday.

She noted the proposed change matches the policies in Des Moines and Davenport. Iowa City allows minors in such establishments until 10 p.m.

The changes are proposed as part of a code cleanup to be more in line with state code. The code hadn’t been updated since the 1970s or 1980s, Grieder estimated.

The Cedar Rapids City Council gave initial approval to the change. The matter needs two more votes to become official, tentatively slated for May 14.

The time restrictions are exempt if the minor — those under the legal drinking age of 21 — is accompanied by a parent, lawful guardian, or spouse over age 21. Those at least 18 years old would be allowed to remain if assisting an adult person with a disability.

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Other changes to the alcoholic beverage code include blocking alcohol permits within 300 feet of grade schools, streamlining the application process for permits, and clarifying language to prohibit anyone from being on premises after 2:15 a.m.

In other news:

l Tricon General Construction of Cedar Rapids was awarded a $1.89 million contract to complete a number of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance projects in city parks required as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The project was initially estimated at $994,400, but the engineering firm that provided the initial estimate sent the wrong total, said Jeff Koffron, a city facilities maintenance supervisor. The accurate estimate should have been $1.7 million, he said.

Cedar Rapids officials are seeking a three-year extension to the settlement agreement signed in 2015. Officials had estimated it would take four years and cost $15 million to get in compliance with the federal law created in 1992 and designed to increase accessibility for those with disabilities.

The latest estimate is seven years and $30 million.

“The original $15 million was an estimate before any design or construction work had been started,” Maria Johnson, a city spokeswoman, said in an email. “The $30 million is a more accurate budget number now that projects have been identified and work has begun.”

The city is awaiting a response from the Department of Justice.

l A $2 million contract was awarded to Eastern Iowa Excavating & Concrete of Cascade to convert Third Avenue SE from a one-way street to two-way street from First Street to Fifth Street SE.

Work includes pavement rehabilitation, sidewalk and sidewalk ramp reconstruction, curb replacement, water valve replacement and also coordinating with Union Pacific Railroad to install railroad crossing arms near Third Street SE as part of the city’s quiet zone effort.

Work is expected to begin this summer and be complete within 60 working days.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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