Vendors who sell everything from t-shirts to turkey legs will keep their place outside Kinnick Stadium on University of Iowa football game days. Residents of the Melrose Neighborhood Association had asked the Iowa City City Council to enforce a residential zoning ordinance banning commercial activity.
On Monday, Councilwoman Susan Mims joined with other council members in rejecting a staff recommendation to effectively shut down the vendors. “There is no way I will support banning vendors,” Mims said. “I think that is a big part of the atmosphere of a Big Ten university football game day and it’s just vitally important.”
An overwhelming majority of e-mails sent to the city council denounced the possible vendor ban. Mims said some even declared they’d cancel trips to Iowa football games if the city enforced the ordinance.
“I think to do something like (ban vendors) sends a terrible message to the University in terms of how much we value (football fans) in this community,” Mims said. But there will be some changes.
The city council wants rules for permitting vendors, just like other events in the city. That directive to city staff followed word that a vendor’s stake pierced a gas line just before the Hawkeye’s game with Ohio State last fall. The accident nearly forced the evacuation of Kinnick Stadium.