Originally Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2012, 8:56 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 12, 2012, 11:57 pm
RI considers limiting youth access to District
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By Eric Timmons, email@example.com
Rock Island may ban people aged 17 to 20 from The District between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.
The proposed ordinance, discussed by aldermen Monday, will return for a vote at a later date once details have been finalized by city staff. Mayor Dennis Pauley said bar owners in The District for years have asked the city to keep crowds of young people too young to drink from congregating outside bars.
City attorney Ted Kutsunis said the ordinance would have to be carefully worded. Freedom of assembly is a constitutional right, but restrictions can be imposed when public health and safety can be shown to be at risk, he said.
"I can't guarantee somebody wouldn't challenge it," he added.
Although not yet defined, the area likely affected would include 2nd Avenue between 20th and 16th streets, which includes Great River Plaza, which contains most of The District's bars, city officials said.
Mr. Kutsunis said the ordinance would target loitering youth 17 to 20. Exceptions would be made for youth walking to businesses they can legally enter in The District, such as restaurants.
Several aldermen said they supported such an ordinance. City manager Thomas Thomas said the change could encourage more visits to The District by people who now have safety concerns.
In other business Monday, the council voted 6-0 to pay $473,800 for additional engineering services for the wastewater treatment facility project under construction at Mill Street.The money is part of a request to amend a contract with engineering firm Symbiont to cover the cost of an updated electronic operations and maintenance manual for a new wet-weather treatment system at the plant.
The council also approved buying a house and three vacant lots on the west side of 10th Street, between 6th and 7th avenues for $65,000 from Donald Klemmer and a lot at 600 12th St. for $8,000 from Nathan James
The 12th Street lot and a city-owned lot at 610 12th St. will be given to Forest Siding Supply, which owns property at 619 11th St. leased to Shelter Distribution. The window, roofing and siding supply company will use the space for outdoor storage, city officials said.
The vacant lots will be cleaned up and the house demolished to support the development of the new Martin Luther King Park on adjacent property to the west.