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Iowa City wants to "Clean Up" Ped Mall
IOWA CITY (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Lately the Ped Mall downtown looks more like a living room than a shopping area.
Theres been shopping carts, boxes, bags, all kinds of stuff left out and around, said Aurora Mott, store manager of Catherines Outlet clothing store.
Its become home to people like Tank.
Ive slept on park benches in the Ped Mall, he said.
The former Marine stands outside the mall every afternoon, asking for help, after a medical condition caused him to lose his truck driving job.
Im not out here because I want to be out here, he said. Im used to making thousands of dollars a week to making seven dollars a day. You cant live on that.
But for businesses nearby, the dozens of people-- some homeless others just hanging outare a problem.
Sometimes they start fighting, Mott said.
Blocking pedestrian flow, loud profane language, said city manager Thomas Markus.
A scene officials say is growing worse and is bad for businesses just feet away.
Ive witnessed people avoiding walking through the area, going through the area and thats just not right, Markus said.
City leaders are working on a plan to clean it up.
The proposed ordinance would add more police to the area, ban grocery shopping carts and panhandling both inside and outside the mall.
Hopefully those things will start to address some of the concerns about behavior, Markus said.
Behavior Tank says only comes from a few and not those looking for help.
Not everybody drinks and does drugs, he said. Were out here because we were forced out here.
I have no other choice. This is my home.