Iowa City ordinance involving underage bargoers in hands of voters

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A lot of college students are moving back to campus this weekend, including the school deemed the top party school in the country—The University of Iowa.

As they celebrate the start of another year, Iowa City voters could soon be changing the bar scene.

Iowa City’s Ped Mall has a lighthearted vibe, but on the doors of bars is a stern warning, letting anyone under 21 know they need to be out by 10 p.m.

“I have a friend who got a ticket at 10:05 and it's like $500 so that's rough,” said Liz Goodall, a Junior at the University of Iowa who is from Davenport.

Getting caught the first time is a $300 fine, the second is $500 and anything after that is $625.

“A lot of times people aren't even doing anything wrong or like drinking, they're just there to be with like their friends,” said Goodall.

But that could be changing. On November 5, Iowa City Residents will have the option to overturn the ban, allowing underage drinkers to stay past 10 p.m.

“I think it's a great idea just for the business of the bars. I know we'd be busier during the week, get a lot more shifts for us,” said Alex Czechowicz, a bartender at Fieldhouse.

But a group called “21 Makes Sense,” which includes the mayor and University of Iowa officials say the ordinance should stay put, pointing to a reduction in police calls and less risky behavior by students since the ban was put in place in 2010.

Both students and bartenders acknowledge the possibility of underage drinking.

“Absolutely we don't want underagers drinking in here ya know that could get us shut down, but I feel like if we had enough security and we got great door guys, I'm sure we'd find a controlled way to do it,” said Czechowicz.

But feel these stern warnings don’t mix with Iowa City nightlife.