Iowa City fine-tuning 'Nighttime Mayor' position

Angela Winnike is the first person to serve in that role but she's leaving Iowa City for a new position in California.

The non-profit, the Downtown District, hired Winnike in April 2017. She was supposed to be a link between businesses and community events to align big opportunities with smaller shops.

"There was a time when we didn't have any real contact with the businesses that are open at night," said Downtown District Executive Director Nancy Bird. "Now, those relationships have really been better established."

Even though the job title is "nighttime mayor" the position has nothing to do with city governance and doesn't require an election to fill the role. After more than a year with this new position, the verdict is that it needs to stay.

"Some of the traffic that we see, good or bad, doesn't necessarily come through the business. There's an overwhelming amounts of people downtown. It attracts people," said Pints Owner Doug Meek.

"We understand the ways they're seeing the industry they're running and we can better service them," said Bird.

The support isn't just in Iowa City. Other communities are taking notice of how to make sure the local economy keeps buzzing even after dark.

"A lot of things have changed since this role has begun," said Bird. "There have been more nighttime mayors and ambassadors in cities across the country that have been started since we hired her a couple years ago."

The Downtown District will come up with a plan for hiring a replacement next month.

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