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Council approves law restricting those under 21 in downtown Rock Island

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Updated December 18, 2012: 

The Rock Island City Council approved an ordinance limiting the presence of people between 17 and 20 years of age in the District and downtown areas. 

The ordinance prohibits loitering for people ages 17 to 20 in public areas such as sidewalks and alleys between midnight and 3 a.m.  The ordinance takes effect December 31, 2012.  


Original story from December 17, 2012:

The Rock Island City Council is set to vote on an ordinance that would prohibit people between 17 and 20 years old to be in public areas of downtown Rock Island, Illinois after midnight.

Their agenda says the council will take up the issue at its meeting set for 6:45 p.m. Monday, December 17, 2012.

The new ordinance restricts people 17 to 20 years of age from loitering, congregating or remaining in public areas of the Great River Plaza between midnight and 3 a.m.   The public areas listed in the ordinance include sidewalks on several streets, city parking facilities and the Arts Alley area between the Quad City Arts Center and Renaissance Center buildings.

Click here to see a map of the areas defined in the new ordinance.

Police Chief Jeff VenHuizen said business owners in the area told police they were concerned about large groups of people under 21 congregating outside the downtown businesses.

Ven Huizen says the new ordinance is meant to stop the loitering but “it is not intended to discourage individuals 17 to 20 years of age from visiting businesses or residents” downtown.

“We have several businesses that are open during these times and persons 17 to 20 years are still able to go to them,” said city manager Thomas Thomas.  “In addition, our downtown residents in this age group should not be affected by this ordinance.”

 “Police officers will take a common-sense approach to this new ordinance to discern if individuals are legitimately downtown for a meaningful purpose. Our number one concern is safety, and this ordinance should help,” said VenHuizen. 

People between 17 and 20 years of age will still be allowed to work at and patronize downtown businesses after midnight. 

If passed, violating the ordinance would be punishable with a fine between $75 and $500. 

The new ordinance would be in effect by New Year’s Eve.