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Iowa City holds 'State of the Downtown'

The State of the Downtown, held at the Graduate Hotel in Iowa City, was also a soft opening for members of the community learn and see the new hotel since it opened to guests on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Iowa City residents celebrated another year of achievements in improving the downtown district, from construction on the PED mall, new hotel additions, and RAGBRAI preparations.

Those working behind the scenes of some big improvements in the downtown district said the past year was a big one for businesses and visitors.

The State of the Downtown, held at the Graduate Hotel in Iowa City, was also a soft opening for members of the community learn and see the new hotel since it opened to guests on Sunday.

In addition to talks about the new hotel, the downtown districts said about 87 percent of businesses owners say they feel optimistic they can continue to grow in Iowa City.

Also, in a year, the downtown area reduced garbage by 47 percent, thanks in part to the downtown's Clean Alley Project.

Downtown district leaders said this address was an opportunity to share that growth is continuing downtown despite ongoing construction on the PED mall.

"There are lots of ways to get to the businesses that are on the pedestrian mall from other avenues, so we're supporting the way-finding through signage an other things. Everyone can kind of come down and see the nuts and bolts underground. The businesses are all open, and I think that product at the end is super exciting," said Nancy Bird, Executive Director for the Iowa City Downtown District.

Bird also talked about the significance for RAGBRAI coming to Iowa City.

She said those celebrating will be able to enjoy having their open container beverages, and streets and leading up to construction on the PED mall will be open to foot traffic, so people can walk to businesses more freely.

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